Why the new budget deal is generally good news for healthcare


Category: Congress, Children’s Health Insurance Program, community health centers, Medicare, Medicaid, Disproportionate Share Hospitals, ACA

Why the new budget deal is generally good news for healthcare


With the immediate threat of government shutdowns removed and a two-year spending plan now in place, we can take a deeper look at what’s inside the new budget deal.

Here’s are the biggest takeaways for the healthcare industry:

  • The deal extended the Children’s Health Insurance Program for another four years. That’s already on top of the six-year extension approved by Congress in late January.
  • The nation’s community health centers, which serve upwards of 30 million people, had been operating on expired funding since last fall. This deal extends funding for the next two years at a total cost of $7 billion.
  • Congress approved a total of $6 billion in funding to help treat mental health issues and opioid addiction.
  • In addition, the deal includes another $2 billion for the National Institutes of Health and $495 million for the National Health Service Corps.
  • Just like Congress has done every year since 2010, payment cuts to Disproportionate Share Hospitals have been pushed back, which had been a requirement of the Affordable Care Act. DSH facilities serve a large number of Medicaid and uninsured individuals.
  • The deal killed another ACA creation — the Independent Payment Advisory Board — which had originally been designed to reduce the overall costs of Medicare for the government. The board, which never had any members assigned to it, had been a target of criticism from members of both parties and was ultimately eliminated by Congress.
  • The deal will close the Medicare Part D “donut hole” a year earlier than originally projected under the ACA. And drug companies, which had originally been expected to cover 50 percent of the cost of closing the gap, will now have to cover up to 70 percent of the cost of closing the gap.

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