Just as everyday Americans were preparing their lives for a second United States government shutdown since the turn of the New Year, President Donald J. Trump signed into law a bipartisan (well, as bipartisan as it gets with this Congress) budget deal, focusing on some of the core issues facing us today and, in particular, those directly impacting healthcare.
While pundits, analysts and deficit hawks will argue back and forth about the excessive spending and items that Congress and the administration missed on this deal, one issue that Congress finally started allocating resources to and which hits home for so many people is the opioid crisis—allocating $6 billion to help combat this tragic public health emergency. Enough is enough when more than 110 babies have tragically died since 2010 due to either being born dependent on opioids or for lack of care from their parents.
Some other important items, among others, in the budget deal include:
- Re-authorizing community health centers, which serve over 25 million people, for an additional 2 years with approximately $7 billion in funding;
- Allocating $4 billion to help Veterans Administration hospitals provide the care that our veterans rightfully deserve; and
- Extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for 10 years.
Just after reaching the deal, House Speaker Paul Ryan said “[u]ltimately, neither side got everything it wanted in this agreement, but we reached a bipartisan compromise that puts the safety and well-being of the American people first.” Even though it took a second, but brief, government shutdown and many continuing resolutions to light a fire under Congress to pass a budget, the budget they passed is an important step forward for our Country, especially when it comes to improving our healthcare system.