Senate’s latest healthcare reform attempt of concern to KASB

By Nick Gosnell, September 19, 2017

The Kansas Association of School Boards is continuing to express concern to its members over the provisions in the latest health care legislation that looks to be ramping up for a vote in the United States Senate.

“Similar to the other attempts at health care reform, the Graham-Cassidy bill also contains an annual per-capita limit on Medicaid payments to states,” said Leah Fliter with KASB. “After a state, such as Kansas, reached its annual limit on Medicaid payments, it could not receive any more reimbursements for services.”

Kansas schools perform a lot of functions that currently receive Medicaid reimbursement.

“In Kansas schools, we provide many services under students Individual Education Plans and under the special education law. We also get reimbursed for services that are provided in schools, such as vision and hearing checks. We get reimbursed for some of those costs from Medicaid.”

The argument is that since IDEA, the Federal special education law, mandates these services in cases where they are part of a child’s IEP, then they would still have to be provided, whether the money was there to pay for them or not, which could make at least a portion of that Federal mandate unfunded, if the per-capita cap on Medicaid reimbursement were put in place.

“Things seem to be moving very fast,” said Fliter. “I was in D.C. a week ago yesterday, last Monday, and we were hearing that there wasn’t much appetite to try this again, but now, with the momentum in the last week and now, just over the weekend has been building. Senate Republicans are under pressure to deliver on this promise that they have been making for years now, that they were going to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.”

The budget reconciliation method, which only requires a simple majority vote in the Senate, is only available to the Senate through the end of the fiscal year, which is September 30th. If they let the issue go past that deadline, then it becomes a bill that would need a cloture motion to pass, which makes it need 60 votes for passage. The current Republican majority in the Senate is just 52-48, so if a health care measure is going to make it this session, there are only a few days to make that happen.

“The Senate’s on recess Thursday and Friday of this week, so that cuts even a couple more days off of the schedule,” said Fliter. “It’s moving very quickly. We are asking our members to contact Senator Pat Roberts and Senator Jerry Moran to urge them to take a step back, look at this bill, make sure that students aren’t harmed in any effort to possibly reform healthcare.”

Nick Gosnell is the News Director for WIBW News and the Kansas Information Network. You can follow him on Twitter @NickGosnell11.

https://www.wibwnewsnow.com/senates-latest-healthcare-reform-attempt-concern-kasb/

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