President Trump passes $2.3 trillion relief and funding package

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After some back and forth on the recent bill passed by the House and Senate last week, the president has signed the massive $2.3 trillion COVID-19 relief and government funding package on Sunday night, December 27.

 

The $900 billion COVID assistance package would restart the PPP — the government’s small-business program created under the CARES Act — through March 31, 2021. It commits $285 billion for additional loans under the Paycheck Protection Program and allows particularly hard-hit companies to get a second loan. The new bill would also expand the list of expenses that a loan could be used to pay, which previously were limited mostly to payroll, rent and utilities. Businesses could now use the money to buy supplies from their vendors, buy protective equipment for their staff or fix property damage “due to public disturbances,” according to a House Small Business Committee summary.

The sequester freeze will be extended through the first quarter of 2021. AmerisourceBergen will remain engaged to seek the permanent repeal of the sequester cuts. The package also adds $3 billion to the Provider Relief Fund. It now allows providers to use the funds for revenues lost compared to budgeted revenue in 2020, which HHS had previously forbid. Our early review of the plan indicates changes to Provider Relief Fund reporting requirements, elimination of the cuts to Medicaid disproportionate share payments for the next three years, and a new billing solution that includes an arbitration process. More details on these new provisions will be forthcoming.