WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 28: U.S. Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) delivers remarks during a House Oversight Committee hearing titled “The Basis for an Impeachment Inquiry of President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.” on Capitol Hill on September 28, 2023 in Washington, DC. The hearing is expected to focus on the constitutional and legal questions House Republicans are raising about President Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Federal lawmakers grilled Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra two weeks in a row at hearings in March over regulators’ plans to impose a nurse staffing minimum on nursing homes.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) railed against the proposed standard, which was awaiting final review at the White House Office of Management and Budget at press time.

“Estimates show this rule will impose a $4.6 billion cost on nursing homes … Can you commit … that no nursing homes will close and patients won’t lose access to care as a result of this rule?” Smith asked.

Becerra hedged, saying that patients would still be able to find a nursing home that offers them “quality care.”

Throughout the four-hour hearing, Becerra defended officials’ plans, which include mandating that facilities have an RN on duty at all times.

“We have to make sure that if we’re going to leave our loved ones in a nursing home, there is a nurse that’s available to provide care,” Becerra said.