As Congress works to meet a Jan. 19 deadline to extend funding for the federal government, America’s Essential Hospitals is ramping up efforts to ensure the funding bill delays Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) cuts.

The government is currently operating under a short-term continuing resolution (CR), which expires Jan. 19. The CR authorizes $3 billion for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) but lacks long-term funding to maintain CHIP and failed to fund several health care extenders, including a delay of Medicaid DSH cuts.

America’s Essential Hospitals this week launched an advocacy and media campaign urging Congress to include a two-year DSH cut delay as part of the next funding measure. The association also sent an Action Alert urging members to ask their lawmakers to back a two-year DSH cut delay that was part of the House-passed CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act. The association will continue to aggressively pursue a Medicaid DSH cuts delay in the next round of health care legislation.

Meanwhile, House Republicans are focusing on their health care plans for this year. Multiple House Republican leaders have signaled their desire for Medicaid work requirements as part of welfare reform, enabled by waivers and increased state flexibility. Senate Republicans have been less vocal than their House counterparts about Medicaid work requirements.

Committee Activity

On Jan. 9, the Senate Committee on Finance will hold a hearing to confirm Alex Azar as the next Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will hold a hearing on the opioid crisis.