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News Release: U.S. Congress Includes Key Hospital Priorities in Spending Plan

February 09, 2018

Early this morning, the U.S. Congress passed legislation that raises the debt ceiling, reallocates the current budget caps for defense and domestic discretionary programs, and temporarily funds the government through March 23.

This action provides a pathway for federal lawmakers to determine spending priorities, and ensure stable funding for major government operations and key federal programs.

The spending plan also contains several hospital priorities, including:

  • An additional four-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), funding it through 2027. CHIP received a six-year funding extension in the continuing resolution passed during January.
  • A two-year delay of Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital cuts
  • Increased payments for low-volume and Medicare-dependent hospitals
  • The Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act, a program designed to coordinate care and improve outcomes for Medicare recipients with chronic conditions
  • New avenues to expand access to telehealth services
  • Initiatives to support seniors, mothers, infants, and children
  • Additional funding for overdose prevention and opioid recovery services

“Today’s vote provides some much-needed certainty about the future of key federal government programs,” said Andy Carter, president and CEO of The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP).

“HAP and the hospital community are pleased by the resolution of significant health care policy issues that had not been addressed during 2017, and appreciate the funding for programs to help Pennsylvania’s children, mothers, seniors, and most vulnerable patients continue to access vitally important care.”

Congress now will work to pass appropriations bills that establish the funding levels for discretionary programs through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2018 before the March 23 deadline, and then begin the appropriations process for FY 2019.

President Trump will release his FY 2019 budget proposal on Monday, February 12. The administration’s budget request framework will outline its priorities and inform how Congress moves forward in advancing the federal appropriations bills.

“HAP thanks the hospital champions who supported this measure and looks forward to working with the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation to continue to work to preserve coverage gains by stabilizing the health care insurance markets, supporting care provided to vulnerable populations through the 340B Drug Pricing Program, and nurturing health care transformation,” Carter concluded.

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