Congress has been working on legislation to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which expired two weeks ago.
Last week, before the Senate recessed, the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce marked up separate bills to fund CHIP. The Senate passed its version out of committee without a provision to fund a set of health policy extenders, including halting disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payment reductions and reauthorizing funding for community health centers; the Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting Program; and the National Health Service Corps.
The House version mirrors the Senate bill, but includes provisions to fund the extenders. The House bill also calls for a one-year delay in Medicaid DSH cuts, which would provide a year of relief but also increase total cuts over 10 years from $43 billion to $57 billion. In a statement, America’s Essential Hospitals expressed appreciation for the House delay measure, but stood by its call for a two-year delay and long-term solution.
Meanwhile, Energy and Commerce will hold a hearing Oct. 11 on the 340B Drug Pricing Program and the Finance Committee has scheduled an Oct. 17 hearing on the rising cost of prescription drugs.