Hart Health Strategies provides a comprehensive policy briefing on a weekly basis. This in-depth health policy briefing is sent out at the beginning of each week. The health policy briefing recaps the previous week and previews the week ahead. It alerts clients to upcoming congressional hearings, newly introduced bills, regulatory announcements, and implementation activity related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and other health laws.


CHIP Funding Advances in House and Senate

The House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced legislation to address expired funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and community health centers last week. H.R. 3921, the Helping Ensure Access for Little ones, Toddlers, and Hopeful Youth by Keeping Insurance Delivery Stable (HEALTHY KIDS) Act, would fund CHIP through 2022 and phase out the 23 percent funding increase created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) after two years. It also makes changes to the law’s maintenance of effort requirements that prevented states from reducing eligibility for the program, and modifies reductions in Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments. The HEALTHY KIDS Act would be funded through cuts to Obamacare’s Public Health and Prevention Fund, by increasing Medicare payments for high-income beneficiaries, excluding lottery winners from receiving Medicaid, making adjustments to Medicaid third-party liability, and reducing the grace period for individuals purchasing ACA coverage who fail to pay their premiums on time. H.R. 3921 was advanced out of Committee in a party-line vote. During the proceedings, Democrats called for renewed negotiations on offsets for the legislation in order to make the pay-fors bipartisan.

The Senate Finance Committee advanced a bipartisan CHIP reauthorization bill (S. 1827) on Wednesday, without any details on how the measure would be paid for. Members agreed not to offer any amendments to the legislation, which Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) expects to receive a strong bipartisan vote on the Senate floor. Sen. Toomey (R-Pa.) was the only Committee member to oppose the bill. He raised concerns that CHIP had become a slush fund, citing data that only 58 percent of allocated funding had gone to the program itself since 2009. Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said that the Committee’s new health care priority will now be passage of Medicare and Medicaid extenders. 

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