Week ahead: Children's health funding in the balance

Week ahead: Children's health funding in the balance
© Getty

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 AlexanderMcConnell chokes up saying goodbye to 'friend' Lamar Alexander in floor speech Mark Kelly sworn in to Senate seat Longtime GOP lawmaker urges Senate to restore itself in farewell speech MORE (R-Tenn.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Congress inches closer to virus relief deal Lawmakers pressure leaders to reach COVID-19 relief deal Biden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him 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 MurrayCriminal justice groups offer support for Durbin amid fight for Judiciary spot National reading, math tests postponed to 2022 amid coronavirus surge Democratic anger rises over Trump obstacles to Biden transition 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 RyanMcCarthy woos Freedom Caucus with eye on Speakership American Greatness editor on how Trump's abandonment of populism affected 2020 election Paul Ryan calls for Trump to accept results: 'The election is over' 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 NelsonThe Hill's Morning Report - Fearing defeat, Trump claims 'illegal' ballots The Hill's Morning Report - Biden inches closer to victory Senate Democrats want to avoid Kavanaugh 2.0 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.


Recent stories

Top Dem presses Trump health official on potential ethics violation

Trump to propose major cut to anti-drug office: report

Trump pushes Senate to vote on 20-week abortion ban

Trump administration rescinds guidance on defunding Planned Parenthood

House creates criminal penalties for doctors who don't protect abortion survivors

Trump administration creates new moral, religious protections for health workers

Trump admin delays spark fear for family planning groups over funding

Opponents urge Congress to suspend ObamaCare tax this year

Senate Dems push for health center funding in spending bill

Senate panel advances Trump's nominee for health secretary