Payments under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) remain uncertain in many states without an extension of federal funding to the program. CHIP provides insurance coverage for children whose parents earn too much for Medicaid but cannot afford other health insurance coverage. While the short-term spending bill signed into law on December 8 allows for CHIP funds to be redistributed to states in immediate danger of running out of funding, Congress has been unable to agree on a plan to renew funding for CHIP, which has received strong bipartisan support since the program began in 1997. Federal spending for CHIP is about $14 billion a year and expired on September 30.
On December 5, Senators John Thune (R-SD), Rob Portman (R-OH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Bill Nelson (D-FL) wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) requesting year-end packages to include legislation to reverse cuts to the 340B Drug Pricing Program effective for calendar year 2018. In November, the U.S. House of Representatives proposed bipartisan legislation to reverse cuts to the 340B Drug Pricing Program.
On December 6, the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a report on the health spending of the United States in 2016. According to the report, overall national spending increased 4.3 percent and reached $3.3 trillion or $10,348 per person. A copy of the full report can be found here.