Week ahead: Children's health funding in the balance

Week ahead: Children's health funding in the balance
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All eyes will be on Congress as a partial government shutdown enters its third day on Monday.

Lawmakers were unable to agree on a short-term funding bill on Friday night, leaving the resolution of a number of important health issues up in the air, including funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Republicans are pressing Democrats to support a short-term funding bill that includes a six-year extension of CHIP, touting the program's importance for children. But Democrats say Republicans attached CHIP as a political ploy and should have extended the program months ago.

Senate Democrats are also holding out for a fix that protects certain young immigrants, known as Dreamers, who were brought into the country illegally as children.


The blame game heated up over the weekend, with both sides digging in. A bipartisan group of senators, though, is pushing their own plan to reopen the government.

The health world will be watching closely.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which helps oversee the children's health program, has said they could only guarantee funds through Jan. 19 without additional action from Congress. It is unclear when the first state will actually start to run out of money, though.

Lawmakers must also agree on whether to delay a range of ObamaCare taxes in any eventual spending bill.

The House GOP bill included delays of the medical device tax and "Cadillac tax" on high-cost health insurance plans for two years, as well as a one-year lifting of the health insurance tax in 2019.

Other health-care issues will have to wait for a long-term government funding deal to be reached. Those include a possible drug pricing measure that could be included to help pay for a deal to lift budget caps.

The most likely measure, known as the CREATES Act, is intended to prevent branded drug companies from using tactics to delay competition from cheaper generic drugs.

Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderThe Hill's Morning Report - How will Trump be received in Dayton and El Paso? McConnell faces pressure to bring Senate back for gun legislation Criminal justice reform should extend to student financial aid MORE (R-Tenn.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCollins downplays 2020 threat: 'Confident' re-election would go well if she runs Cook Political Report moves Susan Collins Senate race to 'toss up' The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy MORE (R-Maine) are also still pushing to get a pair of bipartisan measures aimed at providing funding to stabilize ObamaCare markets passed.

Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: Planned Parenthood to leave federal family planning program absent court action | Democrats demand Trump withdraw rule on transgender health | Cummings, Sanders investigate three drug companies for 'obstructing' probe Democrats demand Trump officials withdraw rule on transgender health The Hill's Morning Report - Progressives, centrists clash in lively Democratic debate MORE (D-Wash.), Alexander's partner on one of the bills, is calling for changes to the legislation, but has not yet said what those changes are.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPaul Ryan moving family to Washington Embattled Juul seeks allies in Washington Ex-Parkland students criticize Kellyanne Conway MORE (R-Wis.), meanwhile, has expressed some openness to something along the lines of the second of the two bills, from Collins and Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonAl Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning Democrats target Florida Hispanics in 2020 Poll: Six Democrats lead Trump in Florida match-ups MORE (D-Fla.), which would provide funding known as reinsurance aimed at bringing down premiums.

Both bills face resistance from conservatives, though, so their fate is in doubt.


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