Senate leaders unveil short-term funding bill that includes DSH, GME extensions

Senate leaders have put forward a bipartisan stopgap funding bill that, along with keeping the government open, would extend several key health funding measures for a month and a half.

According to the bill, which succeeded in a procedural vote but has yet to be passed, scheduled cuts to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) program’s payments would again be bumped to Nov. 17.

Without any action, the decades-long payments offsetting safety net hospitals’ uncompensated care costs will drop by $8 billion annually.

The stopgap similarly extends funding for community health centers, the National Health Service Corps and teaching health centers operating Graduate Medical Education programs to the same Nov. 17 cutoff.

Other portions of the bill would extend a federal Type 1 diabetes research program, provide $6.2 billion in Ukraine and $6 billion for national disasters and extend the authority of the Federal Aviation Administration.  

The 79-page bill is backed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). The party leaders reportedly kept much of the bill’s language a secret until just before unveiling it Tuesday afternoon to avoid critique. The Senate voted 77 to 19 to limit filibusters and open the bill up for debate.

“Senate Democrats and Republicans, together, worked in good faith to reach an agreement on a continuing resolution that will keep the government open beyond Sept. 30,” Schumer said on the floor.

The chamber’s leaders hope to get the bill before their colleagues in the House with enough time before the 11:59 p.m., Saturday deadline to keep the government up and running.

Lawmaking in the Republican-controlled House has been largely stalled in recent weeks, however, due to disagreements between Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and the chamber’s far-right contingent over whether to include measures related to funding for Ukraine, border control and other issues.

The speaker told reporters Tuesday night that he plans to bring his own continuing resolution to the floor this week, and declined to say whether he would bring the Senate’s version should it be passed. Subsequent reports on a closed door meeting he held with his party on Wednesday suggest that it will not be brought to the floor.