While Congress passed legislation last month to fund the federal government through September, it’s looking like there will be very few other pieces of significant legislation enacted this year until after the November election and a year-end lame-duck session.

But that doesn’t mean other parts of the government are not busy. During the last two weeks we have seen a flurry of regulatory activity affecting hospitals and health care providers, and we expect that trend to continue for the next several months.

For example, this week we were pleased that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued final regulations to advance important consumer and beneficiary protections for Medicare Advantage enrollees, including increasing transparency and oversight of certain MA plan practices.

Last week, CMS issued its annual proposed payment regulations for fiscal year 2025 for inpatient rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing facilities, inpatient psychiatric facilities and hospice providers. We are expecting CMS to release its proposed payment rule for the hospital inpatient prospective payment system and long-term care hospital PPS soon.

Moreover, the Administration recently released final regulations that limit the sale of certain noncomprehensive health care coverage and promote greater consumer understanding of their coverage options; standardize Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program enrollment and renewal processes and make it easier for eligible children and adults to stay covered; and establish standards for qualified health plans offered through the health insurance marketplaces for 2025.

You can view summaries and key highlights of these and other recent regulations on our webpage.

While this time of year is typically “regulation season,” it is likely going to be extra busy as the Administration looks to finalize rules before they could be overturned by Congress and a potential new Administration under the Congressional Review Act.

That 1996 law allows lawmakers to void rules after they’re finalized by the executive branch if simple majorities in the House and Senate support a resolution of disapproval and the president signs on. The Congressional Review Act’s “look-back” window opens in the last 60 legislative days of the 2024 session so it’s still unclear if that date will end up being in the spring, summer or closer to Election Day – depending on when Congress adjourns for this session. 

What we do know is that the Administration in the next few months is expected to issue regulations that will continue to have significant impacts on the field. These include regulations on Medicare payments for hospitals and physicians; cybersecurity requirements; Medicaid managed care and state directed payments; staffing standards for long-term care facilities; among other issues.

As we always do, AHA will share with our members key takeaways, detailed summaries and reactions to the regulations when they are released. For proposed rules, we’ll also advocate for positive changes in the final regulations to ensure hospitals and caregivers have the resources and support they need to continue providing 24/7 care to all patients in every community.

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