The House of Representatives last week passed legislation, the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act of 2017, that would extend Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding by five years and delay damaging cuts to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments for two years.

The bill, which also would fund community health centers for two years, passed 242-174 with help from just 15 Democrats. Federal funds for CHIP and community health centers expired Sept. 30, the end of fiscal year (FY) 2017, and the DSH cuts started Oct. 1, the start of FY 2018. Most states won’t run out of CHIP funds until early 2018, but some are expected to run out by the end of this month. The Senate Committee on Finance passed its own version of CHIP funding legislation last month, but that bill does not include a DSH cuts delay.

America’s Essential Hospitals released a statement last week strongly supporting the House bill’s DSH cut delays for FYs 2018 and 2019 and the CHIP funding extension.

Last week, House Republicans released their tax reform package. Over the weekend, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced that the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate is under consideration as part of the bill. The Congressional Budget Office found that repealing the mandate would save more than $400 billion over a decade but would leave 15 million Americans uninsured.

The tax bill includes a number of provisions of concern to America’s Essential Hospitals:

  • Section 1308: Repeal of medical expense deduction;
  • Sections 3601 and 3602: Repeal tax deductibility of Private Activity Bonds and Advanced Refunding Bonds; and
  • Section 1204: Repeal of student loan interest payment deduction.

America’s Essential Hospitals continues to analyze the bill’s impact on our members and will weigh in with the House Committee on Ways and Means, which is considering the bill, in coming days.

Committee Activity

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 and alternative payment models on Nov. 8.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a hearing Nov. 8 on how opioids are impacting communities.