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 Legislative and Policy Corner

Trump Picks HHS Secretary

President Trump announced his decision to nominate Alex Azar to serve as his next Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Most recently, Azar served as a pharmaceutical executive with Eli Lilly and Company. During the George W. Bush administration, Azar served as General Counsel and then as Deputy Secretary of HHS. His secretary nomination is subject to confirmation by the Senate.

 

CHIP and Extenders Legislation Passes the House

The House of Representatives passed the Championing Healthy Kids Act (H.R. 3922) on Nov.3, on a largely party-line vote of 242-174. This bill would extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for five years and extend funding for other health programs, including community health centers, the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, family to family information centers, and National Health Service Corps for two years. Unfortunately, one of the biggest offsets this bill uses to pay for funding these programs is a $6.35 billion cut to the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) over 10 years.

AMCHP is on record opposing the use of the PPHF as an offset. Please see this letter that AMCHP sent to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in advance of the vote on the Championing Healthy Kids Act to express its opposition. The Senate has so far pursued a bipartisan process to renew funding for CHIP and the other health care extenders. Negotiations in the Senate are ongoing, and it is unclear what offsets the Senate will decide to use.

 

Update on MIECHV

In addition to a bipartisan, standalone five-year MIECHV reauthorization bill introduced in the Senate (see this letter of support signed by AMCHP, ASTHO, and Safe States Alliance), there is now a draft bill circulating in the Senate to reauthorize several health programs, including MIECHV, for two years. AMCHP joins the Home Visiting Coalition in thanking senators for their inclusion of MIECHV reauthorization as part of any moving legislative package but is reiterating support for a five-year reauthorization in order to ensure the program can maximize the number of families who can be served. Please continue reaching out to your senators to ask them to advance S.1829, the five-year version of MIECHV reauthorization!