Based on proposed actions by the new administration and the 115th United States Congress, there will likely be changes to the Medicaid program that will potentially impact schools. As the only national organization specifically focused on Medicaid in schools, NAME is monitoring the situation closely. With the support of NAME’s Board of Directors, I have agreed to co-chair the 2017 Save Medicaid in Schools Coalition (SMISC). Sasha Pudelski, Legislative Specialist, American Association of School Administrators and Kelly Vaillancourt Strobach, Director of Government Relations, National Association of School Psychologists are the other two co-chairs and are providing much needed leadership for this initiative. To date, approximately sixty national organizations have signed on to participate in the Save Medicaid in Schools Coalition.
The SMISC held an organizational meeting in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C., on January 12, 2017. In addition to the Coalition members, several staff from the House of Representatives participated. The majority of the discussion at this first gathering focused on actions of potential concern for students who are served with funds generated via public health insurance programs:
• Repeal of the Affordable Care Act
• Medicaid Reform:
-Establishment of Block Grants/Per Capita Grants
-Elimination of the requirement that states include an Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit
• Changes to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
How each of these potential changes may be implemented remains to be seen. I am certain there will be lots of back and forth on actions that appear to be promising for children served via Medicaid, as well as those actions that appear to be concerning. Currently on the promising side, the following article reports how a number of GOP Governors who did not participate in Medicaid expansion during the Obama administration are now requesting flexibility to expand their states’ Medicaid programs:
The Coalition’s aim is to remind all involved that approximately half of the participants on Medicaid are children. Together, Medicaid and CHIP cover forty percent of all children in the United States. Changes to these programs that negatively impact schools’ capacity to ensure students are healthy and ready to learn will ultimately compromise not only the well-being of our youngest and most vulnerable citizens, but also our country’s future prosperity.
If you have questions or information to share about what is happening at the local, state, or national level, please contact me. You will also find updates about the SMISC Coalition and other news about school-based Medicaid on the NAME webpage at http://www.MedicaidForEducation.org.
John Hill, Executive Director
National Alliance for Medicaid in Education