On May 1, the U.S. House and Senate agreed to a 2017 fiscal year budget to keep the government funded through the remainder of the fiscal year. The budget bill, which passed both chambers of Congress last week and was signed into law on May 5, contains the following funding for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will receive an additional $130.5 million.
- The National Institutes of Health will receive an additional $2 billion in funding.
- The Food and Drug Administration will receive an additional $39 million.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will receive $22 million in additional funding.
- Opioid and heroin abuse efforts will receive an extra $500 million in funding. The agency will also receive an extra $42 million to address prescription drug abuse.
Similar to recent years, the 2017 omnibus spending bill eliminates funding for the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) created through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Although prior spending bills have similarly defunded IPAB, this provision in the 2017 bill is notable because IPAB’s required cuts may be triggered this year for the first time. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Actuary is charged with determining whether IPAB is triggered each year.
Also similar to recent years’ appropriations bills, the 2017 omnibus spending bill does not include funding for the ACA’s risk corridor program or for the ACA’s cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments. A number of insurance companies have filed suit seeking risk corridor payments that they argue are owed to them. In addition, litigation filed by the House of Representatives remains ongoing in connection with the CSR funding provided by the administration. The House has challenged these payments (first as provided by the Obama administration and now as provided by the Trump administration) on the grounds that the CSR payments are improper because Congress did not appropriate the amounts for them.
Report language accompanying the omnibus spending bill addresses the 340B drug discount program, as well, requesting that the HHS Health Resources and Services Administration brief the House and Senate Appropriations Committees within 90 days regarding the status of the secure website that the ACA requires HHS to create and maintain for purposes of 340B ceiling price verification.
Both chambers of Congress voted on the deal last week, with the House passing the package on May 3 and the Senate passing it on Thursday, May 4, sending it to the President’s desk the day before the short-term continuing resolution expired on Friday, May 5.