WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives today passed H.J. Res. 123, the Continuing Appropriations Act, by a vote of 235-193. In addition to H.J. Res. 123 making further appropriations for FY 2017, it also provides a short-term technical adjustment to address some states’ dwindling funds for the state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Funding for CHIP and other public health priorities expired on September 30, 2017. The House of Representatives passed H.R. 3922, the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act, extending funding for CHIP, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and other important public health programs, on November 3, 2017, by a bipartisan vote. H.R. 3922 is fully offset through responsible reforms like reducing federal subsidies for seniors earning more than $500,000 each year (or $40,000 each month) by limiting government contributions for their Part B and D premiums, and disenrolling lottery jackpot winners from Medicaid to prioritize the most vulnerable.
Under current law, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is restricted by a statutory formula in how it allocates “redistribution funds” to cover state shortfalls that are occurring in the absence of funded FY2018 CHIP allotments. This policy waives a proration rule in the current statutory formula to give CMS flexibility to allocate currently-available redistribution dollars (to any state that exhausts its federal CHIP funding).
This change means CMS can make states whole with federal dollars through Dec 31, 2017, even if a state has already received its original share of the redistribution funding under the current proration rule.
“It’s frustrating to see states forced to rely on this stopgap funding to pay for CHIP when the House passed a fully funded, five-year extension of this essential program last month,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX). “In the meantime, bipartisan, bicameral discussions continue so we can swiftly reach an agreement on a broad package to extend funding for CHIP, Medicare extenders that seniors rely on, and other vital public health programs. Patients have been waiting for far too long. We need to get this done.”