WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan, during a Senate Finance Committee hearing today, raised the importance of implementing bipartisan legislation she worked to pass into law to help end surprise medical billing. She also discussed avoiding a steep drop-off in grant funding to address substance misuse and supporting home- and community-based care.
To watch Senator Hassan’s questioning, click here.
Surprise Medical Billing
Senator Hassan led bipartisan efforts to address surprise medical bills in Congress and successfully pushed to help end this practice in the government funding and COVID-19 relief package that became law in December.
“The passage of that legislation to end [surprise medical billing] was an example of really patient-focused policymaking,” Senator Hassan said at today’s nomination hearing for top Department of Health and Human Services positions. “I would look forward to working with you both as we implement that provision and find further ways to really look at our health care system from the patient’s perspective.”
Substance Misuse Funding
Senator Hassan went on to press the witnesses to commit to ensuring that New Hampshire and other states continue to receive robust funding from the State Opioid Response grant program to prevent a funding cliff that could cause cuts to programs at a time when they are needed most. Since 2017, Senator Hassan has worked to secure more than $86 million to New Hampshire in State Opioid Response grant funding to address the substance use disorder epidemic.
“Over the past several years, State Opioid Response grant funding has allowed New Hampshire to dramatically expand access to opioid use disorder treatment and services for Granite Staters,” Senator Hassan said. “But under the current funding formula, a significant portion of New Hampshire’s State Opioid Response grant funding is now at risk.”
In response, Andrea Palm, President Biden’s nominee to serve as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, emphasized the importance of ensuring that states have the funding that they need to address this epidemic, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Home- and Community-Based Care
Senator Hassan also addressed the need to strengthen home- and community-based services in order to help keep vulnerable Granite Staters and Americans safe, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator Hassan and her colleagues led efforts to secure more than $12.6 billion in dedicated emergency funding for State Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services in the American Rescue Plan that was signed into law, which will help strengthen and expand this critical program.
Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, President Biden’s nominee to be the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Administrator, stated, “If confirmed, you certainly have my commitment to make sure that [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] is doing everything it can do – whether its approving waivers or working with states - to address issues and I’d love to follow up with you on this particular point.”