WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a statement following the HELP Committee Chair scheduling a September 21st markup on primary care legislation. Despite including drastic increases in federal spending, the announced legislation lacks a specific plan or list of scored proposals to pay for the funding increases. The legislation also creates new mandatory supplemental funding streams in sections 203, 205 and 206 that lack Hyde Amendment protections.
“For months, we attempted to hold good faith negotiations with the majority on this reauthorization. First, the Committee was offered a deeply partisan bill that failed before its canceled markup. Now, days before programs expire, a new unfinished and haphazardly drafted proposal was offered to be voted on within a week. The new bill lacks full Hyde protections and drastically increases spending without a plan to pay for it,” said Dr. Cassidy.
“Responsible legislation, which passed unanimously out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has been introduced in the Senate and is endorsed by community health centers. We should be marking up that legislation that can actually pass rather than wasting time on something which everyone can see will not be signed into law,” continued Dr. Cassidy.
This comes as several reauthorizations, including community health centers and crucial health care workforce programs, are set to expire on September 30th if they fail to pass Congress and be signed into law.
In July, Cassidy introduced legislation to reauthorize the Community Health Center Fund (CHCF), the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME), which all expire on September 30th. Cassidy’s legislation mirrors that which the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee passed in May with a unanimously bipartisan vote of 49-0.