(Updated Jan. 17)
The House will vote on a fourth short-term budget patch Thursday that includes a six-year funding extension of the Children's Health Insurance Program and delays of the Affordable Care Act's health industry taxes.
Congress must pass the continuing budget resolution by Friday to avert a government shutdown. The expired Medicare programs that rural hospitals especially rely on, as well as a delay for the disproportionate-share hospital cuts that went into effect Oct. 1, will wait until a big spending omnibus, GOP lawmakers said Wednesday after their briefing with leadership.
The latest continuing resolution delays the Cadillac tax and 2.3% excise tax on the sale of medical devices for two years. The health insurance tax gets a moratorium for calendar year 2019.
The employer mandate is not included, even though the IRS has launched its effort to collect these penalties from the 2015 benefit year.
Leadership is finally putting CHIP into a must-pass spending deal.
The outlook for the program—threatened by months of partisan bickering over how to offset the cost to the government—took a turn when the Congressional Budget Office released new analysis projecting overall savings within six years if Congress funds the program. The CBO report said the GOP tax bill's repeal of the individual mandate would drive up premiums and the subsidies the government would have to shell out for ACA enrollees who qualify for assistance.
On Tuesday senators said a 10-year CHIP funding extension is still part of the discussion. This would save the government $6 billion over that time period. But a healthcare lobbyist said senators are likely to jettison this idea as they can't agree on how to spend that $6 billion offset.
Delays in the ACA taxes will add considerably to the deficit, according to the CBO.
In May, the CBO said repealing those taxes would reduce federal revenue by $144.7 billion over 10 years. A delay of the Cadillac tax until 2026 would cost the government $66 billion, while wiping out the device tax would cost $19.6 billion over 10 years.