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News Release: Federal Government Shuts Down, PA Health Care Community Faces Uncertainty

January 20, 2018

Congress leaves key programs at risk and uncertainty for patients

Congress yesterday failed to pass legislation to keep the federal government funded and address important health care policy priorities. In the wake of a federal government shutdown, the future of many essential health care programs remains unknown.

In response, Andy Carter, President and CEO of The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP), released the following statement:  

“In all of the coverage of political brinksmanship, it’s easy to lose sight of the thousands of Pennsylvania families who are facing tremendous uncertainty about the future of the health care services they rely on. Many of these services are provided by or in partnership with Pennsylvania’s general acute care hospitals, rural and safety net hospitals, as well as community health centers. Without lasting funding solutions, hospitals and providers may be forced to make difficult decisions that will impact access to care. 

“A government shutdown could have very real consequences, particularly in the realm of the important public health and medical research activities spearheaded by the federal government. Contingency plans indicate that half of the workforce at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be furloughed, including many staff working at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Crucial activities, such as addressing the flu season and biomedical research conducted by NIH grant recipients throughout the commonwealth, could be impacted.

“Additionally, we cannot and will not forget about more than 180,000 Pennsylvania children who depend on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to receive primary care, hospital care, and behavioral health services. We need a long-term funding solution now, so that these families are secure in the knowledge that their children are getting the care they need.

“We thank the members of the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation who have tirelessly advocated for CHIP funding and are working to promote a healthy Pennsylvania. We know they understand the importance of these programs, and we share their frustration that Congress has not been able to come to a resolution. Pennsylvania’s hospital community pledges to continue to work with all delegation members to promote programs to help Pennsylvanians get and stay healthy, and keep our hospitals strong.”

 HAP and 26 health care provider and advocacy organizations recently sent a joint letter to the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation outlining their support for programs and policies that are essential to maintaining access to health insurance coverage and care for Pennsylvania families. They cautioned that, if these programs continue to be unfunded or underfunded, Pennsylvania’s health care consumers and providers will be left with few options to receive needed services and resources.

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