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  • Washington Highlights

    Congress Takes Steps to Extend CHIP, Federal Workforce Programs

    Matthew Shick, Sr. Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs
    Jason Kleinman, Senior Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations

    The House and Senate Sept. 28 passed legislation that includes funding through December 2017 for Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) and the Indian Health Service (IHS).

    The Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2017 (H.R. 3823) —a bill primarily relating to the Federal Aviation Authority — provides $15 million for THCGME, a quarter of its annual $60 million mandatory funding, and $37.5 million for the IHS Special Diabetes Program. The legislation also reauthorizes through 2020 the Medicare Patient Intravenous Immunoglobin (IVIG) Access Demonstration Project. As an offset, the bill reduces the Medicare Improvement Fund after 2021 from $270 million to $220 million.

    Meanwhile, the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced that it would markup a bill next week to reauthorize funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), Community Health Centers, the IHS Special Diabetes Program, and THCGME, all of which are currently set to expire on Sept. 30. As of press time, the committee had not released the date of the markup nor legislative text.

    Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) Sept. 18 introduced the KIDS Act of 2017 (S.1827) to reauthorize CHIP, but the committee has not scheduled a markup. The KIDS Act of 2017 would maintain the 23 percent increase in the federal matching rate to states from the Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152) for 2018 and 2019, decrease to 11.5 percent in 2020, and be eliminated beginning in 2021 [see Washington Highlights, Sept. 15].