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 AlexanderJuan Williams: Republicans flee Trump Romney, Collins, Murkowski only Senate GOP holdouts on Graham's impeachment resolution The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Better Medicare Alliance — Impeachment angst growing in GOP MORE (R-Tenn.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Senate panel clears controversial Trump court pick Republicans warn election results are 'wake-up call' for Trump 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 MurrayRetirement bill blocked in Senate amid fight over amendments Senate Democrats call on White House to abandon plan to collect DNA from migrants Overnight Health Care: Judge temporarily blocks Alabama near-total abortion ban | Sanders dismisses calls for 'Medicare for All' funding plan | Dems urge Trump not to back down on vaping flavor ban 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 Ryan Retirees should say 'no thanks' to Romney's Social Security plan California Governor Newsom and family dress as 2020 Democrats for Halloween DC's liaison to rock 'n' roll 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 NelsonBottom Line Bottom Line Media and candidates should be ashamed that they don't talk about obesity 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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