CHIP and Medicare Extenders Bill Still a Work in Progress, including Ground Ambulance Add-Ons

Congress on December 7 passed a two week stop-gap spending bill that includes a temporary CHIP funding fix for states running low on money—but the bill does not authorize new funding for the program. The bill now goes to President Trump, who is expected to sign the measure. Trump yesterday also began negotiations with Republican and Democratic leaders on a new spending bill that Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) says is likely to include new funding for CHIP.

The House Ways & Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee have released separate outlines of bipartisan legislation to extend Medicare health programs and policies, including offsets, though the committees didn’t break out the cost of the so-called extenders or the sum of the offsets. Both bills extend the temporary increase in the ambulance fee schedule rates for all ground ambulance services (i.e., 2 percent urban add-on payment and 3 percent rural add-on payment) and the super-rural ambulance add-on payments for five years through December 31, 2022. The health extenders package is expected to be part of legislation to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which in turn is expected to be part of a year-end omnibus bill.

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