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Congress Returns to D.C. Facing Major Deadlines, Ongoing EMS Priorities

Sep 12, 2017

Congress returned to D.C. after a monthlong break with a long list of priorities to complete before the end of the fiscal year. In addition to funding disaster relief for Hurricane Harvey and Irma, Congress will need to pass legislation by September 30 to continue to fund government operations. And, there are several federal programs that require reauthorization by September 30 as well, including the Federal Aviation Administration, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the National Flood Insurance Program.

In the interim, the Trump Administration will keep the pressure on Congress to revive the failed effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. In November, Congress is expected to tackle tax reform. The Administration is looking to pass the biggest tax cut in U.S. history and overhaul the tax code for the first time in 31 years.

Key EMS Issues To Be Addressed

While Congress has big-ticket items to complete, NAEMT is hopeful that some of our key issues will be part of the action, including H.R. 304/S. 916, Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act of 2017. This legislation helps ensure access to vital emergency medications for patients when they need it most and ensure EMS personnel’s work is not compromised.

H.R. 304 passed the House in January by a vote of 404 to 0 and is awaiting Senate floor action. NAEMT also hopes that Congress will continue funding the Medicare extenders - 2% urban, 3% rural, and super rural bonus payments for ambulances, as part of the re-authorization of CHIP. The Medicare ambulance extenders will expire on December 31, 2017.