Congress kicked off its 2018 session with a full agenda — all of it left over from last year. At the top of the list is funding the government after January 19, when the current short-term spending bill expires. Also at issue is funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which under the year-end budget deal is guaranteed until March 31. Lawmakers have agreed on a five-year extension, but not how to pay for it. Preventing Medicaid DSH cuts for hospitals is part of that discussion as well.
And, there’s the 28.5 percent payment cut to participants in the 340B drug pricing program. The AHA lawsuit aimed at preventing implementation is still in the courts. Meanwhile, legislation to achieve the same goal has been introduced. Lastly, expiring Medicare provisions such as the low-volume payment adjustment, Medicare-dependent hospital status and rural ambulance and home health add-ons still are unresolved.
Sens. Murray and Cantwell and Reps. McMorris Rodgers, Reichert and DelBene will be in the thick of these discussions. WSHA’s message to the delegation: fund CHIP, prevent the 340B cuts and extend the expiring Medicare provisions. Stay tuned for updates as this story advances. (John Flink, WSHA Federal Lobbyist)