Wednesday January 17, 2018
Yesterday evening, House Republicans introduced legislation to keep the government running through February 16th that would also provide a six year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The bill also delays various ACA taxes on health insurers, medical devices, and high-end health insurance.
While this is positive news for children’s health and avoiding a government shutdown, Congress did not include any funding in the short-term continuing resolution for community health centers, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program, and other critical “health care extenders” that comprise the health care safety net. In the end, this does nothing to address the lingering uncertainty that health centers around the nation have wrestled with for the last 109 days.
The House could vote as early as Thursday morning on the short-term spending package, and the Senate is expected to take the bill up soon after the House acts. If the bill passes in the House, at least 60 Senators will need to vote in support of the bill to send the package to the White House. It is unclear at this time whether there will be enough bipartisan support to pass the bill, given that there are still many unresolved political issues (in addition to health center funding) looming over each party’s support of the spending package including: lifting the Sequester caps; extending protections for 700,000 young, undocumented immigrants from deportation; increased funding for national defense; and disaster relief for states impacted by hurricanes and wildfires.
We understand how frustrating this is, and know that Congress’ piecemeal approach to legislating is having a significant impact on community health centers and your patients. We will continue to do all we can to push for an immediate extension of health center funding. Please continue to take action and weigh in with Members of Congress and their staff, and urge them to make health center funding their highest priority. We’ll continue to send out alerts and post information as it becomes available and encourage you to stay tuned to HCAdvocacy's Twitter and Facebook for further actions you can take. In the mean time, you can take action and access additional resources and materials on HCAdvocacy.
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