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 Legislative & Policy Corner

 President's Budget Blueprint Released

On March 16, the President released his FY2018 budget blueprint outlining his federal spending priorities for the coming fiscal year. The document, also known as the “skinny budget,” can be found here.  A full detailed budget with proposed funding levels for individual programs isn’t expected until May.

 

AMCHP is concerned about the president’s 18 percent proposed reduction to the Department of Health and Human Services budget. Although the budget outline doesn’t specifically address the Title V MCH Block Grant, it briefly mentions some programs, ranging from a statement of support for community health centers, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program and the Indian Health Service, while eliminating $403 million from health professions training programs. Additionally, the document references restructuring public health, emergency preparedness and prevention programsand proposes a Federal Emergency Response Fund to rapidly respond to public health outbreaks such as Zika virus as well as a new $500 million block grant program to states through the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionHowever, without specific details, it is difficult to assess how these programs are envisioned to work and how other programs within CDC would be affected. Also of interest is a proposed $500 million increase for opioid misuse prevention efforts to increase access to treatment and recovery services. 

Of course, the budget blueprint is simply step one in the process by which federal spending is determined.  Though the president’s outline gives clues to his priorities and to which areas he may either apply pressure on Congress to act upon or even seek structural changes from within the agencies, Congress will ultimately make determinations about how to allocate funding to specific programs.  To that extent, AMCHP will continue its ongoing outreach to key Congressional offices to make the case for Title V MCH Block Grant appropriations. 

 

Possible House Vote on Affordable Care Act Repeal and Replace

The House of Representatives is currently scheduled to vote on the American Health Care Act on March 23, though final details of the package are still being worked out. Following passage by the House Budget Committee last week, Congressional leaders have indicated they intend to bring it up for a vote but with a few changes to be made to address issues that were sticking points for certain factions among Republican members of Congress. (No Democrats are expected to vote in favor.) These possible changes include adjustments to the level of assistance for people aged 50-64 to pay for health insurance premiums, as well as when the Medicaid expansion will phase out.  AMCHP will keep you posted if and when there is news to share about a vote on the bill.  It is expected, however, that even if the bill passes the House, there would have to be significant changes made in order to achieve enough votes in favor for passage in the Senate.  

 

 

 

AMCHP to Continue National MCH Policy Calls

Thank you to those who participated in the March National MCH Policy Call. A recording of the call is now available. Please join AMCHP’s policy and government relations team for our next call on April 6 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. ET, when we will continue our discussion of the changing policy landscape under the new administration. Please direct any question to Brent Ewig (bewig@amchp.org).