Wins and Losses from Omnibus Spending Bill

December 22, 2022
Ben Cook

Health Care Wins and Losses from Omnibus Spending Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday afternoon, after weeks of deliberations, the Senate passed a massive $1.7 trillion FY2023 omnibus funding package with a large bipartisan majority of 68-29.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer praised the bipartisan effort to get the bill across the finish line ahead of the holiday: “It’s taken a while, but it is worth it and I appreciate the cooperation of everyone here.” Schumer referred to the deal as “one of the most significant appropriations packages we have done in a very long time” and stated that, “from start to finish — from top to bottom — this omnibus is bold, generous, far-reaching and ambitious.”

The appropriations bill includes $47.5 billion for the National Institutes of Health, $92 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and $1.5 billion for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, a biomedical research agency that will support President Biden’s bold initiative to push forward new and innovative cures for cancer.

Medicare wins were also secured in the omnibus, including an easing of Medicare provider pay cuts from 4.5% to 2% beginning in January 2023 and an anticipated increase to 3.5% in 2024, and increased Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories, which will prevent significant cuts to coverage to the territories’ safety net. The deal also allows states to permanently extend Medicaid coverage for new mothers for 12 months, and prohibits children from losing Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage for a continuous 12 months, regardless of family income changes. Overall, CHIP funding was extended through FY2029.

Millions of Americans will also be kicked off Medicaid coverage beginning April 1, as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency sunset included in the spending package.

Additionally, the bill continues COVID-19 pandemic regulatory flexibility for Medicare telehealth programs through 2024, and extends Medicare rural hospital program funding, including funds for the Small Rural hospital Improvement Grant Program.

All told, the sweeping spending package makes significant investments in affordable health care, pandemic preparedness and health care research and innovation.

Members in the House are expected to vote on the final passage as early as tonight and send it straight to President Biden’s desk ahead of the Saturday deadline.

Health Care Voices Founder Laura Packard issued the following statement:

“The health care wins included in this new omnibus funding package will secure life-saving coverage for millions. We applaud the legislators who successfully negotiated to ensure health care for vulnerable communities, including those living in U.S. territories, rural areas, and new mothers and their children.

The five-year extension of federal funding for Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories will provide much-needed certainty for territorial patients and health care providers. Extended coverage of postpartum care in 33 states, and the renewal of the Children’s Health Insurance Program until 2029, are victories that should be celebrated by health care advocates everywhere. Additionally, the extension of telehealth flexibility will allow for continued access to care for those who cannot see their provider in-person.

However, this bill also reminds us how much work is still needed to protect patients and ensure access to affordable health care. It is disappointing to see lawmakers allow states to begin taking away patients’ Medicaid coverage as early as April. And while the pandemic preparedness package is a positive step forward, the amount of funding does not equal the original request. In 2023, we will continue to advocate for affordable and comprehensive care, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and building a health care system that works better for all.”

Laura Packard is the founder of Health Care Voices and a stage-4 cancer survivor. The Affordable Care Act saved her life. She is a co-host of Care Talk, a call-in health care show on and podcast to answer America’s health insurance questions about the ACA, Medicare and Medicaid (airing Mondays at 4:30pm ET). If you’d like to connect with Laura, please reach out to Ben Cook at