Letters of Support Requested for School-Based Medicaid Reimbursement

From NSBA: Urgent Request for Letters of Support and Local Examples re: School-Based Medicaid Reimbursement

The U.S. Senate is poised to make public its version of the health care reform bill that is being negotiated among a group of senior Senate Republicans as early as tomorrow (Thursday, June 22).

The WASB has noted in previous posts regarding similar House legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a Obamacare), efforts to significantly curtail Medicaid spending as part of this legislation have triggered concerns about the impact such cuts would likely have on schools and how services for students with disabilities would be funded.

In anticipation that the Senate version will include provisions similar to those in the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA) that would phase-down Medicaid funding over a number of years, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) is asking for official letters of support for School-based Medicaid in an effort to oppose reductions of Medicaid services to students. Specifically, the NSBA is asking state school board associations and member school boards/districts to share local stories of how school-based Medicaid impacts students and school districts to share with Senators.

The NSBA asks that local boards and districts forward copies of these  letters to federaladvocacy@nsba.org  so that it may reference them as it continues to engage Congress on this important issue. The NSBA also asks that you please forward your letters on official letterhead so that they can be submitted for the Senate Record.  If possible, please email copies of your correspondence to the NSBA by June 23.

Below is a Call to Action from NSBA.

Call-to-Action

School-based Medicaid Reimbursement: Urgent Request for Your Letters of Support and Local Examples

The Senate is close to reaching a deal and moving forward with legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare.” The National School Boards Association (NSBA) urges you to share your districts’ stories with your Senators, on official letterhead, about the importance of school-based Medicaid and the devastating impacts arbitrary funding caps will have on your school districts and the most vulnerable children in your communities.

Here is our most recent NSBA call to action and sample letter. You may use it as a guide in drafting your letter; but, remember to include as many local details about your school district as possible, such as the number of students receiving Medicaid services and how important school-based Medicaid is to addressing the special needs of students educated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

**We ask that you email copies of your letters to us at federaladvocacy@nsba.org so that we may reference them as we continue to engage Congress on this important issue. Please forward your letters on official letterhead so that they can be submitted for the Senate Record.**

Please help us stop America’s most vulnerable children from losing vital healthcare services in our public schools. The Senate is expected to consider its version of a health care reform bill by the end of this month or after the August congressional recess.

References

A helpful reference is recent data compiled by Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute that lists Medicaid data by school district: Medicaid/CHIP Coverage by School Districts

Additional state data on child health coverage in small towns and rural areas is also available: ccf.georgetown.edu/2017/06/06/…

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report on “Medicaid Helps Schools Help Children” also lists data in Table 1 at the end of the document about the amount of Medicaid funding in schools by state. This information is derived from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: www.medicaidforeducation.org/filelibrary-name/

Talking Points

  • Fewer health services: Providing comprehensive physical and mental health services in schools improves accessibility for many children and youth, particularly in high needs and hard-to-serve areas, such as rural and urban communities. Reduced funding for Medicaid would result in decreased access to critical health care for many children.
  • Noncompliance with IDEA: Given the failure to commit federal resources to fully fund IDEA, Medicaid reimbursements serve as a critical resource to help schools provide the specialized instructional supports that students with disabilities need to be educated alongside their peers.
  • Fewer mental health supports: Seven out of ten students receiving mental health services receive these services at school. Cuts to Medicaid would further marginalize these critical services and leave students without access to care.
  • Cuts to general education: Many districts rely on Medicaid reimbursements to cover personnel costs for their special education programs. Cuts in Medicaid funding could lead to deficits that would require districts subject to tax (revenue) limits to divert funds from other educational programs to provide the services to students with disabilities that are mandated under IDEA.
  • Fewer critical supplies: Districts use Medicaid reimbursement for critical supplies such as wheelchairs, therapeutic bicycles, hydraulic changing tables, walkers, weighted vests, lifts, and student-specific items that are necessary for each child to access curriculum as closely as possible to their non-disabled peers.
  • Job losses: Districts use Medicaid reimbursement to support the salaries and benefits of the staff performing eligible services. Sixty-eight percent of districts use Medicaid funding to pay for direct salaries for health professionals who provide services for students.