The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health convened a hearing on May 12 to question HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra about the Biden Administration’s $131.7 billion fiscal year (FY) 2022 discretionary funding request for HHS—a $25 billion increase over the FY 2021 enacted level. The Administration will unveil its full FY 2022 budget on May 28.
Subcommittee members highlighted their policy priorities (COVID-19 response, public health, mental and behavioral health, maternal and reproductive health, and telehealth) throughout the hearing. Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA), full committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and Representative Billy Long (R-MO) asked about the remaining amount in the $178 billion Provider Relief Fund (PRF), the timing of future disbursements, and extending the spending deadline (hospitals and other health care providers currently have until June 30 to use their funds). HHS has not announced new PRF distributions since the Phase 3 General Distribution in October.
Secretary Becerra said that HHS is considering an extension and that the need for relief exceeds the actual funds currently available. While Secretary Becerra did not give details on the next distribution, he promised HHS would be transparent in distributing the PRF’s remaining funds.