by Abby Pinkele
The House Labor, Health, and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee will begin consideration of the Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) LHHS bill on July 18. We believe the bill will move to the full House Appropriations Committee for a markup soon thereafter, possibly as soon as July 19. Exact timing on consideration of the final bill by the full House is unclear at this time.
For FY13, we are asking Representatives to support a total funding level of $3.1 billion for health centers. This represents a $300 million increase from the FY12 funding level. Immediate use of this $300 million increase in funding will provide for the expansion of care to 2.5 million new patients.
In June, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved their FY13 LHHS spending bill which included a combined total FY13 program level for health centers of approximately $3.1 billion and an increase of $300 million. The legislation passed by the Senate Committee also ensures the full $300 million increase will be used immediately and will be fully expended by September 30, 2013.
Even if the House proceeds to full consideration of the bill, the House and Senate will need to conference to rectify the differences between the two versions of the legislation before it can become law. Given the small number of legislative days remaining before the August recess, which begins on August 6th, it is unlikely a conference for the two bills will occur until after the election in November. The markup on Wednesday is just the first step in the House. Health Center advocates should use Health Center Week as an opportunity to weigh-in with Members of the House and Senate on Health Center FY13 funding levels. NACHC will be providing more information on this important opportunity as Health Center Week approaches and after the House action.
We will continue to monitor the House LHHS Subcommittee actions. Stay tuned for a more detailed analysis and a press release on the contents of the House LHHS Appropriations bill later this week.