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Letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Health Subcommittee on Medicaid

May 10, 2011

Dear Representative:


On behalf of the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association (NEA), we would like to express our opposition to the H.R. 1683, the State Flexibility Act, scheduled for mark-up in the Health Subcommittee this week.  This troubling bill would repeal important protections in the Affordable Care Act that prohibit states from reducing Medicaid eligibility levels or changing the rules to make it harder for people to enroll in Medicaid.  This bill is particularly ill-advised at a time when 20 percent of all children are poor and one third of all children can only access healthcare services through Medicaid. 

Medicaid provides essential health care for children, the poor, disabled, and elderly Of the 68 million people covered by Medicaid in 2010, half were children under the age of 19 whose families depend on Medicaid for health care coverage.  In fact, one-third of all children in this country are served by Medicaid. 

Stripping important “maintenance of effort” protections from the law would allow states to cut Medicaid eligibility, which could place many of the vulnerable people who rely on Medicaid at risk of losing the health coverage they depend on.  This will have a devastating impact on millions of children in our classrooms across the nation.  As NEA members are well aware, children who lack access to health care services are less likely to come to school healthy and ready to learn and to succeed academically. The lack of necessary medical services for children and students of all ages creates a serious impediment to the learning process.  In addition, families with access to a regular source of medical care are more likely to keep the entire family healthy and create a better learning environment within the home. 

We recognize the need to make responsible decisions about reducing the deficit.  But jeopardizing essential health coverage for our nation’s children, disabled, and seniors is not a real solution.  We urge you to oppose H.R. 1683.

Sincerely,

Kim Anderson         
Director of Government Relations

Mary Kusler
Manager of Federal Advocacy