Recently, the US House of Representatives introduced The American Health Care Act, which would dramatically change Medicaid’s financing structure and impact the ability of students with disabilities and students in poverty to receive many critical health services that enable them to learn. These services include speech-language pathology, occupational and physical therapy, mental and behavioral health services, vision and hearing screenings, diabetes and asthma management, wheelchairs and hearing aids.

Schools are able to provide these services, professionals and equipment because they can receive reimbursement from Medicaid to cover the majority of these costs. However, the Republican Medicaid plan “The American Health Care Act” would limit what services children can receive in schools and jeopardize the critical health care that students need to learn and thrive in life.

An Action Alert was sent to NASP members and posted on the NASP Facebook Page earlier this afternoon, and we need your help in spreading the word. There are a few specific asks we have.

1. Please share NASP’s action alert widely. We are asking people to CALL and Write. Calling is much more effective, and we have created a script for people to use. You can access the action alerts here:

2. If you are able, we are asking State Associations to send a letter to each of your state’s federal representatives. A template is below and you can tweak it however you want to reflect specific concerns of your state. If you are able to do this, please email NASP using the email address(es) of the correct staff members to contact (listed below). 

3. Share your message on social media using #MedicaidMatters 

Contact these people: 

Rep. French Hill: Holli Heils ([email protected])
Rep. Steve Womack: Claire Burghoff ([email protected])
Rep. Bruce Westerman: Cody Burkham ([email protected])
Rep. Rick Crawford: Ashley Shelton ([email protected])
Sen. Tom Cotton: Abigail Welborn ([email protected])
Sen. John Boozman: Jennifer Humphrey ([email protected])

Example Letter: 

The Honorable [Name]

U.S. Senator/U.S Representative

[Office Address]

Dear Senator/ Representative:

On behalf of [State Association Name], I wish to voice our opposition to The American Health Care Act, which would radically change Medicaid as we know it through block grants, per capita caps, or repealing the Medicaid expansion that has served as a lifeline to millions.

Specifically, a per capita cap system will undermine states' ability to provide America's neediest children access to vital healthcare that ensures they have adequate educational opportunities and can contribute to society. Medicaid is a cost-effective and efficient funder of essential health care services for children. In fact, while children comprise almost half of Medicaid beneficiaries, less than one in five dollars spent by Medicaid is consumed by children. Accordingly, a per capita cap, even one that is based on different groups of beneficiaries, will disproportionally harm children's access to care, including services received at school.

A school's primary responsibility is to provide students with a high-quality education. However, children cannot learn to their fullest potential with unmet health needs. As such, school district personnel regularly provide critical health services to ensure that all children are ready to learn and able to thrive alongside their peers. Schools deliver services effectively and efficiently since school is where children spend their days. Increasing access to health care services through Medicaid improves health care and educational outcomes for students. Providing health and wellness services for students in poverty and services that benefit students with disabilities ultimately enables more children to become employable and attend higher-education.

The current proposal would be devastating to schools and children, particularly those children with disabilities. Providing health and wellness services and services that benefit students with disabilities ultimately enables more children to become employable and attend higher-education. Since 1998, Medicaid has permitted 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 thus eligible to be reimbursed for direct medical services to Medicaid eligible students with an IEP or IFSP. 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.

I urge you to reject the American Health Care Act, and any subsequent effort to significantly change the funding structure of Medicaid.

Posted March 8, 2017