Capitol Correspondence - 07.28.20

Senate Begins Negotiations for COVID-19 Package

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Senate Republicans released a draft COVID-19 relief package, the Health; Economic Assistance; Liability Protection; and Schools Act (the HEALS Act). The proposal is unlikely to gain traction in the House of Representatives. Instead, the HEALS Act will serve in continued negotiations between Republicans and Democrats as they seek to finalize a relief package before the August recess, which is set to begin August 7.

The HEALS Act is a nearly $1 trillion package which would: offer additional provider relief funds; adjust the terms of the Accelerated and Advanced Payment Program, boost COVID-19 testing and preventative efforts, expand small business loans, and create COVID-19 liability protections for schools and business. Read a summary of provisions to Medicaid supports here.

ANCOR is disappointed that provisions from the HEROES Act were not included in the first draft of the HEALS Act. For example, there is no inclusion of Medicaid-related provisions, such as an FMAP increase. Additionally, although there is state funding for COVID-19 testing, surveillance, and contact tracing efforts, there is no specified funding to supplement lost revenues and incurred expenses by state and localities. However, there is language to expand the allowable uses of the previously allocated CARES Act funding for states and localities.  

In order to negotiate and find a satisfactory middle ground between the HEALS Act and the HEROES Act, we are going to need to engage your voices in a strong way – see our action alert in the Congress section.