The Senate Finance Committee and House Energy and Commerce Committee both advanced bills to reauthorize funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Funding for the program expired on Sept. 30.
The Senate Finance Committee passed the Keep Kids’ Insurance Dependable and Secure Act of 2017 (KIDS Act, S. 1827) by voice vote without amendments. The bill extends CHIP funding for five years and maintains 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. The increase would then decrease to 11.5 percent in 2020 and be eliminated beginning in 2021 [see Washington Highlights, Sept. 15]. The Senate has not included details on how the extension will be funded.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced several pieces of legislation, including its CHIP reauthorization bill, the Helping Ensure Access for Little Ones, Toddlers, and Hopeful Youth by Keeping Insurance Delivery Stable Act of 2017 (HEALTHY KIDS Act, H.R. 3921), and the Community Health and Medical Professional Improve our National Act of 2017 (CHAMPION Act, H.R. 3922).
The HEALTHY KIDS Act includes the same provisions as the bill passed out of the Senate Finance Committee. It also includes a 1-year delay in the Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) cuts that were scheduled to begin in fiscal year (FY) 2018, but would increase and extend the total cuts by $16 billion over two years in FYs 2026 and 2027. The AAMC has supported a 2-year delay in these reductions [see Washington Highlights, Sept. 22].
The Energy and Commerce Committee advanced the HEALTHY KIDS Act on party lines by a vote of 28-23. Democrats objected to the offsets to pay for the extension, which include Medicaid third party liability reform, changes to Medicaid eligibility for lottery winners, and premium increases in Medicare Parts B and D for higher-income individuals.
The House Committee also advanced the CHAMPION Act on party lines, 28-23. The bill extends until FY 2019 funding for Community Health Centers, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), and the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education programs, among other public health programs.
Democrats opposed the measure due to the $6.35 billion cut over ten years to the Prevention and Public Health Fund to pay for the extension. Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (D-Texas) introduced an amendment in the nature of the substitute to the CHAMPION Act, which would extend NHSC and THCGME funding for five years, without cutting the Prevention and Public Health Fund. The amendment failed by voice vote.
The bills will go to the full House for consideration.