Congress Votes to End Shutdown, Provide Long-Term CHIP Funding
By David Doolittle

Capitol photoCongress has approved a short-term spending package Monday that would fund the federal government through Feb. 8 and end a three-day government shutdown.

The package also will extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years, according to several media reports. Long-term funding for the program, which provides health coverage for about 450,000 Texas children and pregnant women, expired in September.

The Senate on Monday afternoon approved the measure, which the House signed off on later in the day. The measure now goes to President Donald Trump to sign.

Until the shutdown is officially lifted, several key health agencies will continue to operate, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said.

“In the short term, the Medicare program will continue largely without disruption during a lapse in appropriations,” officials said in a statement. “States will have sufficient funding for Medicaid through the second quarter.”

The shutdown started Friday after the Senate failed to pass a bill that would’ve funded the government through Feb. 16. 

HHS said about half of its employees will be furloughed during the shutdown, though many of its programs will continue, including:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “CDC's immediate response to urgent disease outbreaks, including seasonal influenza, would continue.” However, “CDC would be unable to support most non-communicable disease prevention programs, continuous updating of disease treatment and prevention recommendations, and technical assistance, analysis, and other support to state and local partners.”
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA): “FDA will be unable to support the majority of its food safety, nutrition, and cosmetics activities. FDA will also have to cease safety activities such as routine establishment inspections, some compliance and enforcement activities, monitoring of imports, notification programs (e.g., food contact substances, infant formula), and the majority of the laboratory research necessary to inform public health decision-making.”
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): “SAMHSA would continue programs such as the Disaster Distress Helpline, Treatment Locator, Treatment Referral Line, and Suicide Prevention Lifeline using available grant balances but without technical assistance or facilitation from SAMHSA.” 
 Photo credit: washington.org

 


Last Updated On

January 22, 2018

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David Doolittle

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Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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