Letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee
July 26, 2007
On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we would like to express our support for the inclusion of a moratorium on changes to school-based Medicaid claiming in H.R. 3162, the CHAMP Act, scheduled for mark-up this week.
Since 1986, federal Medicaid policy has explicitly recognized the essential link between Medicaid and health care for low-income children whose special healthcare needs make management of and access to treatment in school settings an imperative. NEA members care deeply about children's health issues. They have long recognized the importance of this link, which ensures that children with serious and chronic conditions can get the health care they need so that they can go to school. However, proposed regulatory cuts in payments to schools for providing healthcare have threatened these services. In addition, recent actions by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have called into question the ability of schools to use Medicaid administrative funds for outreach to enroll Medicaid-eligible children.
School districts play a critical role as a site for healthcare delivery for students during the day. In fact, receiving medical services through school may be the only way some students get the services they need. Medicaid reimbursement helps school districts provide the highest quality services to students with special needs. Cutting Medicaid payments to schools would jeopardize the ability of students to receive needed school-based health care and could force students to remain at home rather than attending school. In addition, schools are under tremendous pressure from No Child Left Behind to have 100 percent of students achieving at high levels. Children with untreated chronic health care problems will not be attentive learners, will frequently be absent, and will not achieve at the levels Congress mandated in 2002.
The proposed moratorium on changes to school-based Medicaid claiming would allow school districts to continue to claim administrative and transportation costs associated with providing health services to Medicaid-eligible students with special needs. Most importantly, it would treat school districts consistently with other health care providers with regard to Medicaid reimbursements.
Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations
Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy