What The Funding Deal Means For Health Care

Congress came together Saturday to secure a last-minute deal to continue government funding for 45 days and avoid a government shutdown, bucking the overwhelming consensus that a shutdown was inevitable.

The “clean” stopgap measure — known as a continuing resolution — will keep government agencies like HHS running at current levels through Nov. 17. More than 200 House Democrats agreed to the patch, bailing out Republicans and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who were unable to unite on a deal to fund the government.

What’s in the continuing resolution: The package sustains funding for community health centers and temporarily averts significant cuts that would impact safety-net hospitals, as POLITICO’s Robert King reports.

Cuts for those hospitals, which serve a high share of Medicare and Medicaid patients, would be more than $8 billion. Obamacare provisions have long called for such cuts, but Congress has prevented them from happening.

The deal will also:

— Keep funding flowing for the National Health Service Corps and the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program

— Extend the Special Diabetes Program and the Special Diabetes Programs for Indians

— Extend the authority of the National Disaster Medical System to request federal workers be moved to support responses to public health emergencies

What could have happened: HHS had warned that a shutdown could impact FDA inspections and force the agency to furlough nearly half its workforce. More than three-quarters of NIH staff would be furloughed, according to contingency plans.

Community health centers, which serve patients regardless of their ability to pay, had feared a shutdown would force workers to leave for other jobs.

Clinical trials and the Affordable Care Act Exchanges would still be able to run, though, and Medicare and Medicaid checks would continue to be sent.


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