Press Release

Walden on Passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018


02.09.18

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) today released the following statement after House passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.

“This agreement marks an important step forward on several priorities the Energy and Commerce Committee has championed for many months. After months of needless uncertainty, Community Health Centers will finally receive the full two-year funding extension passed out of our committee last fall and ensure millions of Americans can still receive quality and affordable care. Additionally, the increase in funding to combat the opioid crisis and improve mental health care will be a vital compliment to the historic reforms in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and the 21st Century Cures Act. As our committee begins another legislative push to craft policies to combat the crisis, we plan to move important reforms and provide even more resources in this fight,” said Chairman Walden.

“The $2 billion in funding provided to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will also ensure our top scientists continue the ground-breaking research that will yield the next great breakthrough on the diseases and disorders we battle every day. Likewise, I am pleased to see the agreement commits resources to buildout needed infrastructure priorities, including broadband infrastructure, clean and safe drinking water, and several energy initiatives.  While no bill is perfect, I believe this agreement advances several important initiatives and is a necessary step forward as we continue our work as a committee and a congress.  I will continue to work closely with leadership and our appropriators on these and other important priorities for our nation.”

E&C Priorities in the Senate Bipartisan Budget Agreement

$7.8 billion to fully fund Community Health Centers (CHC) for two years

$6 billion to combat the opioid crisis and improve mental health care – $3 billion for FY18 and $3 billion for FY19 – to combat the substance abuse epidemic, including enhanced state grants (with additional assistance for those states with the highest mortality rates and tribes), public prevention programs, and law enforcement activities related to substance abuse and mental health programs.

$2 billion for National Institutes of Health – $1 billion for FY18 and $1 billion for FY19 – to support additional scientific research.

Full Repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)

Delays the reductions in Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments

Permanent repeal of Medicare therapy caps

Extends authorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program from six to ten years 

5-year extension of Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program

$4.9 billion to increase Medicaid caps for Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands for two years

Language from a number of important health care provisions passed through the Energy and Commerce Committee was included:

  • H.R. 3926, the Community Coordination And Resource Empowerment Act (Community CARE Act), authored by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), providing FY2018 and FY2019 funding for Community Health Centers.
  • H.R. 3935, the Bolstering Organizations and Options to Support Training in Primary Care Act (BOOST Primary Care Act), authored by #SubEnvironment Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL), providing FY2018 and FY2019 funding for the National Health Service Corps.
  • H.R. 3394, the Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education Extension Act, authored by House Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), providing FY2018 and FY2019 funding for Teaching Health Centers.
  • H.R. 3924, to amend the Public Health Service Act to extend funding for the special diabetes program for type I diabetes, authored by Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), providing FY2018 and FY2019 funding.
  • H.R. 3917, to amend the Public Health Service Act to extend funding for the special diabetes program for Indians, authored by Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA), providing FY2018 and FY2019 funding.
  • H.R. 3900, the Youth Empowerment Act, providing FY2018 and FY2019 funding for Title V Sexual Risk Avoidance Education, authored by Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX).
  • H.R. 938, the Medicaid Third Party Liability Act, authored by #SubHealth Chairman Burgess. As modified, the provision will improve Medicaid Third Party Liability rules and strengthen Medicaid’s role as the payer of last resort by requiring other liable insurers to pay claims for prenatal services before Medicaid pays.
  • A permanent repeal of the annual limit on per-patient therapy expenditures in Medicare (therapy caps), authored by #SubCommTech Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL).
  • Technical corrections to MACRA, authored by #SubHealth Chairman Burgess.
  • H.R. 3263, to extend the Medicare Independence at home Medical Practice Demonstration program, authored by #SubHealth Chairman Burgess and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), would extend the Independence at Home Medical Practice Demonstration Program (IAH), which provides a home-based primary care benefit to high-need Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions, ideally allowing them to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations, ER visits, and nursing home use, for two additional years.
  • H.R. 1148, the Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine Act of 2017, authored by #SubOversight Vice Chairman Morgan Griffith and (R-VA) Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH). H.R. 1148 will expand the ability of patients presenting at hospitals or at mobile stroke units to receive a Medicare reimbursed neurological consult via telemedicine.
  • H.R. 3163, the Medicare Part B Home Infusion Services Temporary Transitional Payment Act, authored by #SubEnergy Chairman Upton (R-MI). H.R. 3163 will create a temporary transitional payment policy, for services related to infusion drugs before a permanent payment policy, included as part of the 21st Century Cures Act is finalized.
  • H.R. 3271, the Protecting Access to Diabetes Supplies Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Diana DeGette and Rep. Susan Brooks, would address several issues beneficiaries have reported facing under the competitive bidding program regarding Diabetes Test Strips (DTS). Among them include: providing enhanced reporting that will aid Congress and CMS in ensuring beneficiaries are receiving the diabetic testing supplies they need to manage their condition.
  • H.R. 2465, the Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act of 2017, authored by House Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), and Rep. John Larson (D-CT). H.R. 2465 will make coverage of speech generating devices under “routinely purchased durable medical equipment” permanent under the Medicare program.
  • H.R. 3245, the Medicare Civil and Criminal Penalties Act, authored by Rep. Gus Bilirakis and Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL). H.R. 3245 will update both penalties within the Medicare program, many of which have not been updated in 20 years.
  • H.R. 3120, to reduce the volume of future electronic health record-related significant hardship requests, authored by #SubHealth Chairman Burgess and Rep. Debbie Dingell. H.R. 3120 would amend the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act to remove the mandate that meaningful use standards become more stringent over time and allows the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to be more deliberative in such evaluations.
  • Modifying the reductions in Medicaid DSH payments, authored by #SubHealth Chairman Burgess.
  • H.R. 829, the Prioritizing the Most Vulnerable Over Lottery Winners Act of 2017, authored by #SubEnergy Chairman Fred Upton. H.R. 829 will disenroll lottery jackpot winners from Medicaid, in order to prioritize the most vulnerable.
  • H.R. 4430, To provide temporary direct hire authority for certain emergency response positions, authored by Rep. Gus Bilirakis, Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX), and Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), authorizing the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) to fill open personnel positions in the National Disaster Medical System and within the office of the ASPR to enhance public health preparedness and responses to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

$20 billion for Infrastructure Initiatives – $10 billion for FY18 and $10 billion for FY19 – to invest in infrastructure, including programs related to rural water and wastewater, clean and safe drinking water, rural broadband, energy, innovative capital projects, and surface transportation.

Supplemental appropriations for disaster relief and recovery, including $13 million to the Department of Energy for expenses related to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and $8.7 million to repair damages to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).

Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations: $541 million in emergency spending for consequences of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and wildfires.

Rural Utility Service: $165.47 million in emergency spending for grants and technical assistance to repair drinking water and sewer systems and solid waste disposal systems impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

Economic Development Administration: $600 million in emergency spending for grants to related to flood mitigation, long-term recovery, and restoration of infrastructure in areas declared a disaster from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

Department of Homeland Security Environmental Compliance and Restoration: $4.038 million in emergency spending for necessary expenses related to consequences of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

$6.2 million in emergency spending for Hazardous Substance Superfund for necessary expenses related to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

$7 million in emergency spending for Leaking Underground Storage Tank for necessary expenses related to Hurricanes Harvey.

$50 million in emergency spending for State and Tribal Assistance Grants for the hazardous waste financial assistance grants program and other solid waste management activities related to consequences from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund (DWSRF):  Relief from matching requirements and increased ability to subsidize or forgive loans by a State subject to a disaster declaration related to Hurricanes Maria and Irma out of amounts previously appropriated to EPA for DWSRF capitalization grants, but not used by that State.

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