The HEALTHY KIDS Act, which would reauthorize the CHIP program, successfully passed out of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee on October 4 by party lines. While an amendment was pursued to change the HCBS settings rule to remove presumed isolated settings from being denied HCBS funding, this amendment failed. The HEALTHY KIDS Act is the companion bill to the Senate CHIP Reauthorization Act, which has passed out of the corresponding Senate Finance Committee on a bipartisan basis. The next step for these bills is for the full Senate and House to come to agreement on their content and vote on them.
Originally ANCOR had concerns that this legislation would become a vehicle for cuts and caps to Medicaid on the House side. However, this has become less likely following the withdrawal of the Graham Cassidy bill, as our lobbyist Al Guida explained on ANCOR’s weekly Friday Briefing call on September 29. That is because attaching those changes to CHIP legislation on the House side would require the bill to return to the Senate and obtain the support of 60 Senators, including Democratic Senators who would have opposed such changes. Senate Republicans are currently rethinking their health care strategy. As such it is expected that both the House and Senate will pass fairly “clean” CHIP legislation, especially since this is critical legislation for the states and the federal funding deadline has expired.