House Passes Short-Term Funding Extension for Medicaid Pilot Program

On July 30, the House passed a bill to keep a $1 billion Medicaid pilot providing mental health and addiction services running through mid-September—the third short-term funding extension in four months.

The bill, H.R 3253, passed during a pro forma session and already passed by the Senate, now heads to the president’s desk. It provides roughly $60 million to continue services through Sept. 13. The program’s champions plan to push for a longer-term extension.

The program was launched in 2017 and provides enhanced Medicaid funding to nearly 80 clinics across eight states designated as “certified community behavioral health centers.” If the funding ends, the clinics will stay open but will lose their enhanced match, which, clinic operators say, could lead to layoffs and reduced services.

The National Council for Behavioral Health, which provides technical assistance to the centers, estimates 300,000 people could lose access to services if funding isn’t renewed in September. That includes 9,000 people currently receiving medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction.

Senate Passes Bipartisan Budget Deal, President Trumps Signs

On Aug. 1, the Senate passed a $2.7 trillion budget agreement with a 67-28 vote. The bipartisan agreement, H.R. 3877, passed in the House last week, and was signed by President Trump on Aug. 2. The agreement raises spending $320 billion over current levels and lifts the debt ceiling for two years. When Congress returns from summer recess, the process will begin to ensure funding is secured for after the Sept. 30 deadline.

Under the budget agreement, the defense spending limit will increase by $22 billion over current levels for fiscal 2020. The non-defense funding cap will be raised by $27 billion during that time. The measure hikes each of those budget limits by another $2.5 billion in fiscal 2021, which begins in October 2020.

Find the bipartisan deal here.


Read more on healthcare policy on the McGuireWoods Consulting website.