The Biden-McCarthy leaves $5 billion intact for coronavirus vaccine and treatment research, according to multiple media reports.
The debt-ceiling deal negotiated by President Joe Biden House Speaker Kevin McCarthy does not include the Medicaid work requirements that many Democrats were prepared to fight. But the agreement does include clawing back $30 billion in unspent COVID-19 relief funds favored by many Republicans.
The debt-ceiling bill passed by House Republicans in late April included Medicaid work requirements. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that if the requirements became law and had been implemented next year, up to 1.7 Medicaid enrollees might have lost coverage for failing to meet the requirements.
The Washington Post’s “The Health 202” email newsletter and other media outlets are reporting that the COVID-19 clawback does not affect the $5 billion allocated for research and development for next-generation coronavirus vaccines and treatments.
The Biden-McCarthy deal does, in fact, include an expansion of work requirements but for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known was food stamps, not Medicaid. Currently, the SNAP program has work requirements for individuals ages 18-49. The agreement, which must pass the House and the Senate to become law, would expand that age range to 18-54, with exceptions for veterans, people who are homeless and young people leaving foster care.