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 Legislative and Policy Corner

Holding Pattern for Congressional Action on Key Health Care Programs
As the end of the year approaches, Congress faces a long list of items that need be addressed, including the renewal of funding for programs that are critical to MCH populations. The House and Senate have taken steps to extend funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV), Community Health Centers, the Personal Responsibility Education Program, Family to Family Information Centers, and National Health Service Corps. However, final passage of legislation to extend funding for these programs is tied up in broader negotiations to fund the government when the current Continuing Resolution expires on Dec. 8. 

Action on key health care programs
CHIP, MIECHV, and the other health care program extensions are also competing for floor time with other congressional priorities, including tax reform and emergency funding for hurricane-affected areas. Action on these key health care programs is at a standstill until congressional leadership and the White House hammer out a plan to tackle their long to-do list before the end of the year.

Senate Hearing for HHS Secretary Nominee
This week the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Alex Azar to serve as 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 of HHS, then as deputy secretary.

CMS Notice for Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2019
On Oct. 27, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released the Notice for Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2019. This proposed rule, released annually, focuses on provisions dealing with insurers, providers, and exchanges that might have implications for consumers. AMCHP submitted comments on the proposed changes with implications for MCH populations. The comments, found here, focus on state selection of Essential Health Benefits, substitution of benefits, and Essential Community Providers. 

Get up to Date on Federal MCH Policy
The next event in the All-Member National MCH Policy Call series will take place on Dec. 7 from 2-3:30 p.m. ET