CRAMER: HOUSE FUNDS MILITARY AND VITAL HEALTH PROGRAMS
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer joined a majority of his colleagues in approving a much needed increase in funding for our depleted Armed Forces this evening. The increase in base spending for the Department of Defense (DOD) was part of a continuing resolution (CR) approved by the House to fund the federal government until March 23, 2018.
U.S. Defense spending would rise to $659.2 billion in FY 2018 as the bill provides $584 billion for the DOD base budget, and $75.1 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account to support the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). In addition to rebuilding our nation’s depleted Armed Forces, the bill fully funds a 2.4% pay raise for our troops, as well as increasing the size of the nation’s Active, Reserve, and Guard forces. This is the fourth time the House has passed legislation to fund the Department of Defense for FY 2018.
The legislation also includes funding for health care and Medicare programs long supported by Congressman Cramer. It provides $3.6 billion per year for two years in funding for community health care programs as well as extending the funding for the Special Diabetes Program for Type 1 Diabetes and the Special Diabetes Program for Native Americans for two years. Each of these diabetes programs will receive $150 million a year.
“Funding for our military, Medicaid programs, and community health centers should be bipartisan issues,” said Cramer. “Unfortunately for the second time in less than a month the safety of our nation and health care for the most needy of our citizens is jeopardized by Senate Democrat playing partisan politics. I hope the Senate will pass this CR and use the time to schedule work on the remaining 11 appropriations bills.”
This is the fifth Continuing Resolution passed by the House since the end of FY 2017. House Republicans passed all twelve FY 2018 appropriations bills on time and on budget before September 30. The Senate has failed to act on any FY 2018 appropriation bills.
Continuing Resolution Bipartisan Medicare Extension and Improvements to Programs Summary
Permanent Medicare Improvements: Permanent repeal of Medicare payment cap for therapy services; permanent removal of the rental cap for durable medical equipment under Medicare with respect to speech generating devices; permanent extension of Special Needs Plans in Medicare Advantage.
2 Year Extension of Important Medicare Policies: The bill would provide an extension of the work Geographic Practice Cost Index (GPCI) floor which boosts payments for the work component of physician fees in areas where labor cost is lower than the national average. The bill extends funding for quality measure endorsement, input, and selection. Finally, the bill extends, without modification, the Medicare-Dependent Hospital and Low-Volume Hospital programs.
5 Year Extension of Medicare Policies with Reforms: In general, longer-term extensions are coupled with policy changes to improve efficiencies in the Medicare program. This bill includes 5-year extensions of the Home Health rural add-on payment, and ground ambulance add-ons.
2 Year Extension of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs): FQHCs (Community Health Centers) are community-based, patient-centered organizations that provide comprehensive health services to medically underserved populations, regardless of their ability to pay. The bill extends funding for these centers for two years through the Community Health Center Fund. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, in 2015, community health centers employed nearly 190,000 people and served over 24 million patients. One in 13 people nationwide rely on a health center for their health care needs.
2 Year Extension of Important Public Health Programs: Funding for the National Health Service Corps, Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education, Family-to-Family Health Information Centers, the Sexual Risk Avoidance Education Program, and the Personal Responsibility Education Program are included in this bill.
Averts FY2018 and FY2019 Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital Reductions: The bill eliminates the $5 billion reductions included in the ACA that are scheduled under current law.