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From Health Law Daily, December 22, 2017

Same but different; shutdown averted, CHIP gets temp funding

By Anthony H. Nguyen, J.D.

By a vote of 231-188, the House of Representatives again passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government through January. In early December, Congress passed the "Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018" to prevent government shutdown and fund the federal government by extending the expiration date of the FY 2018 CR for two weeks, as well as keep CHIP running (see Appropriations Act would keep agencies running, redistribute CHIP allocations…for now, December 8, 2017.

Included in the newly passed CR is a provision with short-term funding for the state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP funding had expired on September 30, 2017, and some states were projected to run out of funding starting in January 2018 (see Will Congress deliver coal or tax reform to Oval Office for holidays? December 1, 2017). The extension allows CMS some flexibility over the use of certain funds through the period ending March 31, 2017. The funds are unused CHIP funds that CMS can redistribute to states equal to their emergency shortfall before distributing to states with a nonemergency shortfall.

One of the effects of the work on the latest CR is that the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017, co-sponsored by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) and Patty Murray (D-Wash), was not included. The bill that was offered to reducepremiums for health insurance purchases in the individual market. In addition, the Reinsurance Act of 2017, a bill co-sponsored by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Me) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla) that would allocate additional reinsurance payments to subsidize high-cost patients would be delayed. Sen. Alexander stated that because Congress would only be able to pass another CR before the end of the year and that a broad year-end funding agreement was not feasible, he had requested it be pulled until Congress resumes in 2018.

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