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Congress and President Sign Off on Funding for Major Health Care Programs

(from the October 5, 2018 ACP Advocate)

When it comes to federal fiscal matters, the American College of Physicians is breathing a sigh of relief, at least for the time being.

Not only has a government shutdown been averted, with legislation signed to keep the doors open through early December, but the president also signed legislation that funds crucial health-related agencies and programs through September 2019.

Those include the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Title VII Health Professions program. All will continue to be funded, in some cases with millions more dollars than allocated for the previous fiscal year.

ACP also found the process itself somewhat encouraging, reflecting more bipartisan cooperation than in the past, according to Jared Frost, an ACP senior associate for legislative affairs.

“The appropriations process is much further along than it was last year,” Frost said. “Congress did not pass priorities for the 2017-2018 fiscal year until well into calendar year 2018.”

This go-round, however, the president signed a combined spending bill on September 28. The current fiscal year ended September 30. The bill allocates spending for the departments of Defense, Labor, Education and Health and Human Services. He'd earlier signed spending bills to fund the legislative branch and the departments of Energy and Veterans Affairs.

In addition, the president signed a “continuing resolution” that will keep other government agencies and departments, including the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of State, funded and open through December 7. These agencies and departments still need to be funded for the remainder of the fiscal year, however, and it's possible that the president will force a partial government shutdown at that point.

Among the health-related funding allocations:

The National Health Service Corps received $105 million in discretionary funding for substance use disorder treatment providers (the same amount as the previous fiscal year) and mandatory funding of $310 million (also the same as the previous year).

Read the full article in ACP Advocate.

The ACP Advocate is a bi-weekly e-newsletter that provides ACP members with news about public policy issues affecting internal medicine and patient care.

Back to the November 2018 issue of ACP IMpact