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The Medicaid Debate in the U.S. Congress

Earlier this month, 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. Read our most recent coalition letter to Congress against Medicaid cuts.


The U.S. Senate is currently negotiating a health care bill. There is support among Republicans to reduce federal Medicaid spending by 25 percent by distributing Medicaid funds through a block-grant or a per-capita cap, which would shift costs to states. However, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the block grant like the one proposed in the House 2017 budget would cut Medicaid spending by $1 trillion over a decade, cutting away one-third of the program’s budget. Block granting Medicaid could result in reduced eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP, coverage of fewer services, lower payments to providers, or increased cost-sharing by beneficiaries — all of which would reduce access to care. Cuts to Medicaid will impact every state, school district/school. See how much funding your state will lose under the AHCA


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.



Call or Email your Senators: Cutting Medicaid Will Hurt Children with Disabilities

  • Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for the office of your Senators or  toll-free number (844-USA-0234) and enter your zip code. 
  • Identify yourself as a constituent and the organization that you represent (if any)

  • Find your Senator’s email address: 

In the call or email communicate:

  • I am your constituent.
  • I am the parent of a child with a disability or I am a family member of a child with a disability or I am a professional in the special education field.
  • The cuts to Medicaid in the AHCA are severe and will be disastrous for the children receiving Medicaid-eligible services and to the schools and personnel providing the services. The Senate bill must not adopt these cuts.

  • Medicaid helps me/my family member/my school by ensuring that specialized instructional support personnel and services, important screenings (hearing, vision etc.), vaccinations, diabetes/asthma management, transportation, equipment for special education and other school-based services are available.

  • The Senate health care bill must protect, not harm, children with disabilities.




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