Lawmakers Close in on CHIP Deal
January 11, 2018
Trump administration to allow Medicaid work requirements; Lawmakers indicate they’re close to a deal on CHIP funding; DACA deal hits opposition from the left; Producer prices drop on services, jobless claims up for fourth week in a row.
- Trump administration to allow Medicaid work requirements. Trump administration officials unveiled Thursday a set of guidelines that would allow states, for the first time, to impose work requirements for Medicaid, indicating a major change to the federal health program is imminent. Over the program’s 50-year history, recipients were never required to meet work requirements in order to get coverage. Democrats are adamantly opposed to the change, saying that some recipients will lose coverage, and, due to the extra bureaucratic strain of meeting those requirements, some may not apply at all. Trump administration official Seema Verma of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services argued the policy change will move Medicaid recipients toward “self-sufficiency.” [CNN]
- Lawmakers indicate they’re close to a deal on CHIP funding. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), funding for which expired a few months ago due to partisan squabbling over how to pay for the program, will likely be resolved as soon as next week. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, likely spurred by the new CBO figures that indicate the program will cost $800 million rather than over $8 billion, have indicated that funding for CHIP may be attached to next week’s continuing resolution, another short-term spending measure to avoid a government shutdown. The program will be funded for an additional five years, saving states from scrambling to come up with funds or deny children insurance coverage. [The Hill]
- DACA deal hits opposition from the left. Democratic leaders appear close to a deal with Republicans and the administration on the DACA program, or Deferred Action for Child Arrivals, a program that allows undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children to avoid the threat of deportation. The broad outlines of the deal ensure legal status for Dreamers, while strengthening border security and making changes to family migration and the diversity lottery, programs the President has roundly criticized on Twitter. Several House Democrats in the party’s left wing have expressed dismay that the Democratic leaders are giving so much in exchange for legal status for Dreamers, and have insisted that a “clean” DREAM Act is passed. That tension, combined with concerns from Republican hardliners on any policy that allows immigrants to stay in the US, jeopardizes the deal. Meanwhile, due to the short-term nature of DACA recipients’ legal status, the clock continues to wind down before “Dreamers” lose legal protection en masse. [Politico]
Economic Indicators & News
- Producer prices drop on services, jobless claims up for fourth week in a row. Producer prices fell this past month, by about 0.1%, an interesting figure given persistently low inflation that has dogged the Federal Reserve and tempered their inclination to raise rates. The fall in producer prices is the first such drop since August 2016. Additionally, jobless claims were up this past week, for a fourth week in a row. The labor market is nearing full employment, with the unemployment rates at a 17-year low, but the four-week moving average has ticked up slightly, with jobless claims averaging over 250,750 these past four weeks, an increase of 9,000. [Reuters]