President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan last week. The bill includes several GNYHA priorities, including significant funding for states and localities, COVID-19 response funding, public health investments, health insurance expansions, and a technical fix to COVID-19-related enhanced Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage funding.
GNYHA advocated for many of the American Rescue Plan’s provisions, especially the $350 billion in state and local relief to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic’s public health and fiscal impacts. We thank Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and the New York House Delegation for their ongoing support of frontline health care providers and workers.
The bill appropriates $8.5 billion for rural providers, including those located in rural areas, hospitals that reclassify to rural status, and other providers that serve rural patients. The new funding is designated to help rural providers cover expenses and lost revenue related to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the funding is separate from the existing CARES Act Provider Relief Fund (PRF), the two programs will coordinate so that eligible providers will not receive duplicate payments for the same lost COVID-19 revenues and expenses.
A provision in the bill will provide premium assistance for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) continuation coverage for eligible individuals and families from the first of the month after enactment through September 31, 2021.
The bill also includes several provisions that were in the initial version of the bill passed by the House, including $350 billion for state and local governments; $92.9 billion for various activities related to testing, treating, and responding to COVID-19; and an increase in Affordable Care Act subsidies for currently eligible individuals.
While GNYHA is grateful for many of the American Rescue Plan’s provisions, the bill does not include several of our top priorities such as increased funding and flexibilities for the PRF, Medicare sequester relief, and statutory improvements to the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment program. We will advocate for these important provisions in future COVID-19 relief legislation.