What West Virginians Need to Know About the New Federal Spending Bill

Feb 9, 2018

Congress passed a bipartisan budget deal early this morning that, among other things, authorizes funding for several health care programs. Here’s what West Virginians need to know about the bill.

In September, the funding for community health centers was allowed to run out – there are 30 of these centers in West Virginia. The budget bill not only reauthorized funding for the centers but increased their allocation to 3.8 billion dollars for the current fiscal year and 4 billion in 2019, up from 3.6 last year.

The bill also included a four-year extension in funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program – that’s on top of a six-year extension Congress approved last month.

On the other end of life, Medicare beneficiaries with high prescription drug costs who have been stuck in a coverage cap known as the “doughnut hole” can expect to get some relief. Starting in 2019, drug manufacturers are required to give larger discounts to beneficiaries in the doughnut hole.

However, to fund the spending bill, Congress is taking some money from a fund established by the Affordable Care Act to pay for public health prevention programs like diabetes and heart disease. 

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Marshall Health, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.