On Friday, May 15, the House of Representatives passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, along with a resolution to allow for proxy voting and remote committee work in the House. Since the House-passed this new $3 trillion stimulus package, attention is now focused on the Senate.
Unlike other recent COVID-19 relief bills that quickly passed both the Senate and the House with bipartisan support, the HEROES Act was crafted by the House majority and is being viewed as a starting point for future negotiations between the chambers and the White House. As the Senate explores its COVID-19 priorities in the coming weeks, additional action is expected to continue into June with an uncertain timeline for final passage of the next relief package.
While the HEROES Act will not be taken up as written in the Senate, it does include a number of policies that healthcare stakeholders have been requesting, including $200 billion for hazard pay for essential workers, an additional $100 billion for HHS’s Provider Relief Fund, $75 billion for testing and contact tracing, $7.6 billion for health centers, and $3 billion for mental health and substance use disorder programs. The bill also increases the federal Medicaid matching funds from 6 percent to 14 percent and changes the repayment terms for the Medicare Advanced Payment Program to allow more time to repay the loans.
The HEROES Act also builds on the previous stimulus packages and makes several changes to the HHS Provider Relief Fund that was established to reimburse healthcare providers for expenses or lost revenue from COVID-19. It would allow providers to submit quarterly documentation of their COVID-19 expenses and lost revenue compared with previous years. HHS would be required to provide 100 percent reimbursement for expenses and 60 percent of lost revenue for providers as long as their revenue losses were greater than 10 percent. HHS would also be prohibited from using more than $10 billion to pay hospitals for uncompensated COVID-19 care.
- A full section-by-section summary is available here.
- A one-pager on the legislation is available here.
- The text is available here.