Trending News Today: Stopgap Spending Bill Reauthorizes CHIP

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

Yesterday, the Senate and House approved a bill that would reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for 6 years and provide additional federal funding for the next 3 weeks, Kaiser Health News reported. In December 2017, a temporary spending bill allocated $2.85 billion to the program, but some states quickly ran out of funding. Although legislators disagreed on how to fund CHIP, a recent Congressional Budget Office report indicated that reauthorizing the program would reduce the deficit by $6 billion by 2027, which eased negotiations, according to Kaiser.

The recently-signed stopgap spending bill included a provision to delay a 2.3% tax on medical devices, STAT reported. The medical device tax was originally implemented under the Affordable Care Act as a way to offset the cost of subsidies. Medical device companies have been lobbying to repeal the tax since it was enacted on January 1, 2018, and the first payments would be due by January 29; however, the spending bill retroactively delayed the tax, according to the article.

The CDC reports that the current influenza season continues to be the most intense since the 2009 pandemic, according to The Wall Street Journal. Despite the temporary government shutdown, the CDC continued to respond to new cases of the flu. CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald said the agency is analyzing state-level data to advise public health officials on how to respond to the outbreak, according to the article.