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The Medicaid Debate in the U.S. Congress 

The Senate has considered several bills to replace the Affordable Care Act. To date, all bills debated would have made significant cuts or placed caps on Medicaid reimbursement to states. The current proposal, the Graham-Cassidy Bill, is no different. COPAA has advocated against these cuts and/or caps because of the direct harm it will do to public school children, especially children with disabilities. It is critical that the Senate continue to hear that any bill with cuts and caps to Medicaid harms vulnerable students with disabilities.  



 We need everyone, even if you’ve already joined this campaign, please speak up again!

Here's what you can do:

1. Email or Call your Senator and say 'Vote No' on the Graham-Cassidy Bill. 

Tell your Senator to vote ‘NO’ on the Graham-Cassidy bill due to the extreme reductions it will create in your state’s Medicaid budget and therefore the harm it will do to your school district’s ability to fully serve and support students with disabilities.

2. Everyone must weigh in; however, if you live in the following states, your input can make a particular difference in communicating with key Republicans who have supported children and families and voted ‘NO’ on similar proposals this year. The states and Senators to target are:


 AK (Murkowski), AZ (McCain), KS (Moran), OH (Portman), ME (Collins), NC (Tillis), ND (Hoeven), WV (Capito) 


Go here to look up your Senator’s contact information:


Why COPAA Advocates for Medicaid in Schools

Cuts in Medicaid not only affect the children eligible for Medicaid in their home state, these cuts also impact all children in any public-school district. Why?  Because Medicaid pays for more than just for poor children’s healthcare and related services.

Many school districts across the U.S. have opted to use Medicaid to pay for: valuable personnel such as school nurses, counselors, psychologists, others (for all school buildings or to travel from school to school); and, to for school and district wide screenings, immunizations, durable medical equipment, technology/assistive technology and more. Without the promised Medicaid dollars, access and support to services for tens of millions of children are in great jeopardy.


Medicaid and Students with Disabilities

Medicaid permits payment to schools for certain medically necessary services provided to children under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) through an individualized education plan (IEP) or individualized family service plan (IFSP). Schools are eligible to be reimbursed for direct medical services to Medicaid eligible students with an IEP or IFSP. In addition, districts can be reimbursed by Medicaid for providing Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment Benefits (EPSDT), which provides Medicaid eligible children under age 21 with health screening, diagnosis and treatment services such as vision, hearing and more. Many schools and districts rely on Medicaid to provide services and to pay for certain personnel (e.g. school nurse, aides); to purchase and update specialized equipment; and to purchase and/or provide assistive technology and items needed for each child to access the school curriculum alongside their peers.


Legislative History: 2017

In early June, the U.S. House of Representatives passed The American Health Care Act (AHCA) that will result in significant funding cuts to every public school. The AHCA not only repeals and replaces parts of the Affordable Care Act, but changes the way public schools receive Medicaid funds necessary to provide services to students with disabilities. The bill puts $4 billion of Medicaid funding public schools receive annually at risk. COPAA has advocated against these cuts. See how much funding your state will lose under the AHCA




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