Ruiz Secures Victories for Salton Sea, Medicare Enrollees, Patients, and More in End-Of-Year Funding Bill

December 23, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – This week, Congress passed H.R. 133, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which included several measures championed by Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D. From additional funding for projects at the Salton Sea, to closing the coverage gap for seniors enrolling in Medicare Part B; from ending surprise billing to making major investments in cybersecurity education, Rep. Ruiz secured key victories for constituents in California’s 36th Congressional District in this year’s government funding bill.

“I am thrilled to have delivered outcomes for patients, seniors, families, students, and more in my district,” said Rep. Ruiz. “This legislation includes my measures to end surprise medical billing once and for all; expand Medicare coverage for seniors by closing coverage gaps in Medicare Part B; provide additional funding for projects at the Salton Sea; and increase scholarships that can be used for cybersecurity education by CSUSB and their Palm Desert campus. I am proud of the results delivered to my constituents.”

BACKGROUND:

Below are Dr. Ruiz’s priorities included in H.R. 133, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021:

  • Ending Surprise Billing – H.R. 133 will prohibit surprise bills being sent to patients from unanticipated out of network care, using key provisions from Dr. Ruiz’s bill, H.R. 3502, the Protecting People from Surprise Medical Bills Act.
  • Closing the Coverage Gap for Seniors: A key measure in Dr. Ruiz’s bill, H.R. 2477, the BENES Act, was included in the H.R. 133 to close the Medicare Party B coverage gap if seniors don’t sign up immediately upon turning 65. 
  • Funding for Salton Sea Projects: H.R. 133 included $153 million for investigations of Army Corps projects and direction to the Army Corps to carry out the investigation of a Salton Sea project. Also included is $559 million for water resources projects and direction to the Bureau of Reclamation to consider Salton Sea projects for funding. Dr. Ruiz advocated for additional Salton Sea funding this year.
  • Salton Sea Project Authorization: H.R. 133 included language authored by Dr. authorizing the Army Corps to take the first step towards construction of the Northern Perimeter Lake Project at the Salton Sea. 
  • Increased Funding for Law Enforcement Mental Health Programs: Dr. Ruiz was successful in increasing the funding for Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness grants from $5 million to $8 million in FY21 in H.R. 133.
  • Funding for Teaching Health Centers – H.R. 133 includes Teaching Health Center funding for 3 years, which is the longest funding extension of teaching health centers since it was first enacted in the Affordable Care Act. 
  • Funding for Cybersecurity Programs – H.R. 133 includes $60 million for Cybercorps: Scholarships for Service and support for the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Challenge which will boost cybersecurity education activities by CSUSB and their Palm Desert campus, which Dr. Ruiz advocated for this year.

 

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