WASHINGTON — A new, bipartisan deal in the Senate to fund primary care programs also includes new policies to restrain hospital costs, including a ban on some facility fees and restrictions on anticompetitive contracting practices.
The package, negotiated between Senate health committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), is urgent because it includes funding for community health centers that is set to expire at the end of the month. The package would provide the health centers with three years of funding, compared with a House package that proposed two years.
The bill’s path to passage is also complicated because the lead Republican on the Senate health committee, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), said he doesn’t support the package.