House Republicans released the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act of 2017 yesterday afternoon. This legislation extends funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for five years and stops cuts to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments in fiscal years (FYs) 2018 and 2019.
The bill also extends mandatory funding for community health centers and the National Health Service Corps for two years. It offsets these costs, in part, by eliminating funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund in FYs 2020 to 2026. America’s Essential Hospitals released a statement supporting the DSH and CHIP provisions of the bill. The legislation is expected to be brought to the House floor on Wednesday.
The Senate Committee on Finance is finalizing bipartisan legislation to renew a number of Medicare extender programs that are scheduled to expire by the end of the year. The committee released a discussion draft last week, which includes measures that will aid low-income and rural health care providers. The draft does not include details of how the spending for these provisions will be offset.
Last week, the Trump Administration declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. Congress now will have to allocate new funding to address the epidemic as a part of a potential year-end spending agreement. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) announced his support of the opioid funding model that was part of the 21st Century Cures Act, which included $1 billion to combat the crisis. Other conservatives have voiced concerns with increasing federal spending and advocated for states to better utilize resources they already have.
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will hold a hearing on the health IT provisions that were included in the 21st Century Cures Act on Oct. 31.