House Passes CR, Extending Temporary Funding for Critical Public Health Programs and Relief for States in Need of CHIP Funds

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Washington, December 21, 2017 | comments

WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives today passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government, by a vote of 231-188. Included in the CR is a provision providing  short-term funding for the state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This temporary patch is similar to one passed by the House earlier this month.

Also included in the CR is a short-term funding stream for the Community Health Center Fund, the National Health Service Corps, Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education, and the Special Diabetes Program.

Funding for CHIP and other public health priorities expired on September 30, 2017. The House of Representatives passed H.R. 3922, the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act, extending funding for CHIP, Community Health Centers and other important public health programs, on November 3, 2017, by a bipartisan vote. H.R. 3922 is fully offset through responsible reforms like reducing federal subsidies for seniors earning more than $500,000 each year (or $40,000 each month) by limiting government contributions for their Part B and D premiums, and disenrolling lottery jackpot winners from Medicaid to prioritize the most vulnerable.

Under current law, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is restricted by a statutory formula in how it allocates “redistribution funds” to cover state shortfalls that are occurring in the absence of funded FY2018 CHIP allotments. This policy extends the CR provision that gave CMS more flexibility over the use of redistribution funds through the period ending March 31, 2017, and modifies the rule so CMS will make monthly determinations of states’ projected shortfalls.

This policy also requires the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to distribute funds in the order in which states experience shortfalls. Overall, it is estimated that these funds would be available through the length of the short-term CR.

“Once again, the House has acted to make available short-term relief for states in desperate need of CHIP funds while our fully funded House-passed package languishes in the Senate. It is incredibly disappointing that our colleagues couldn’t come together before the end of the year to advance a long-term extension of CHIP and these critical public health priorities,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX). “As we continue our bipartisan, bicameral negotiations, we must act quickly to fund this vital program. Children and their families can’t keep putting their lives on hold.”
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