The health of our nation’s children is in the hands of the Senate this week, as Senators consider the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) reauthorization. We will be exploring the importance of both of these measures over the next few days. Watch the blog, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more.
The Senate is expected to vote on its latest healthcare bill, known as Graham-Cassidy, within the week. HSC is alarmed that Graham-Cassidy reneges on Medicaid’s 50+ year commitment to provide America’s children with access to vital healthcare services that ensure they have adequate educational opportunities and can contribute to society.
HSC stands with our allies at the Save Medicaid in Schools Coalition to oppose any healthcare bill that fundamentally changes the structure and funding of Medicaid. Read the Coalition’s recent open letter detailing the profound risk to children that Graham-Cassidy entails.
By providing health coverage to the nation’s most vulnerable children, Medicaid plays a critical role in ensuring children across the country are healthy and ready to learn. Schools currently receive reimbursements from Medicaid to provide key health services for students enrolled in the program such as speech-language pathology, occupational and physical therapy, mental and behavioral health services, vision and hearing screenings, and diabetes and asthma management. And it’s incredibly cost-effective. Unfortunately, the financing structure proposed by Graham-Cassidy would jeopardize the funding available for these essential health services by placing a per-capita cap on Medicaid. If funding were cut for these services, it would disproportionately impact lower-income students of color and students with disabilities, and jeopardize the basic healthcare that enables them to be healthy and ready to learn.
If you are as alarmed as we are, please make a call to your senators to make your voice heard. You can contact your Senators through the Senate switchboard (202) 224-3121 or find your senators’ numbers here. You can use the script below, adapted from our partners at AASA, The School Superintendents Association:
- As a constituent [and a teacher/principal/parent/school nurse], I oppose the passage of Graham-Cassidy. Rather than close the gap and eliminate the rate of uninsured children in America, the current proposal will ration the healthcare America’s most vulnerable children receive and undermine the ability of districts to meet the educational needs of students with disabilities and students in poverty.
- Children represent 46% of all Medicaid beneficiaries yet represent only 19% of the costs. Currently, 4-5 billion dollars flow to school districts every year, so they can make sure students with disabilities who need the help of therapists can learn and that students who can’t get to a doctor regularly can receive the basic medical care they need to learn and thrive.
- The current proposal will jeopardize student’s ability to receive comprehensive care at schools and create barriers to access. Graham-Cassidy would undermine critical healthcare services my district provides to children. It would also lead to layoffs of school personnel, the potential for new taxes to compensate for the Medicaid shortfall, and shifting general education dollars to special education programs to compensate for these cuts.
We encourage you to raise your voice and share your concerns about the Graham-Cassidy bill with your Senators, and to follow us on Twitter and Facebook where we’ll be staying up-to-date with the latest developments.