The Children’s Health Insurance Plan is reauthorized for 6 years as part of the short-term funding bill passed by Congress and signed by President Trump on Jan. 22.

The legislation did not address two Affordable Care Act provisions that have been bandied about in this years’ budget debacle – delaying the “Cadillac tax” on high-valued employer health insurance plans and the medical device tax.

The short-term funding bill ( H.R. 195 ) passed the Senate by an 81-18 vote and the House by a 266-150 vote after a 3-day shutdown of the federal government driven primarily by partisan disagreement over immigration policy.

CHIP funding had expired at the end of September 2017. The 6-year reauthorization period is the longest since the program was created in 1997. The Senate Finance Committee passed a bill reauthorizing CHIP for 5 years in October 2017, but the Senate did not take any action.

Although he voted for the 6-year extension, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said that Congress was going only for a temporary extension rather than making CHIP a permanent program.

“I wish it were permanent,” Sen. Cardin said on the Senate floor. “Rather than putting another deadline on the program, we should try to make this permanent.”

Sen. Cardin also said the bill did nothing to extend funding to community health centers, where many children covered by CHIP get their medical treatments.

gtwachtman@frontlinemedcom.com

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