Senate budget deal would boost spending on health programs and the fight against opioids

Key Points
  • A bipartisan Senate budget deal would boost federal spending on a number of health programs.
  • The Children's Health Insurance Program would have its funding guaranteed for the next decade under the deal.
  • Spending to combat the nation's epidemic of abuse of heroin and prescription opioids also would increase.
Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Patty Murray (D-WA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Ed Markey (D-MA) attend a press conference at the U.S Capitol on February 11, 2016 in Washington, DC. The senators are calling on senate Republicans to support the passage of emergency funding to tackle the prescription opioid and heroin crisis.
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A bipartisan Senate agreement reached Wednesday on the federal budget would boost funding for a range of health programs, including efforts to combat the national opioid epidemic.

The deal, which would have to win approval from the House and President Donald Trump, would extend for a total of at least 10 years funding for the popular Children's Health Insurance Program.

CHIP, which provides health coverage to 9 million kids, recently had its funding extended for six years as part of an agreement to temporarily keep the government open last month.

Congress last fall failed to reauthorize CHIP. That had put several states, which jointly run the program with the federal government, on track to run out of money earmarked for children's health care within months.

The budget deal also would devote $6 billion to efforts to fight opioid abuse and would fund community health centers — which provide services for 26.5 million Americans — for at least the next two years.

The deal also calls for another $4 billion for veterans' hospitals and $2 billion for the National Institutes of Health.

The deal was announced Wednesday by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and the minority leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.