Health

Congress’ New Health Care Repeal Bill Cuts Medicaid, Harms Kids.

We have made enormous progress in making sure Utah kids have health insurance coverage. Speaker Ryan and the House Republicans have released a plan that will take us backwards. The plan would harm the health of kids and families in Utah and across the United States by drastically cutting Medicaid, the cornerstone to children’s health care, and repealing the ACA.Taking away her phone wont help

Medicaid CHIP vulnerable Utah childrenOver the last several years, thanks to the collective impact of the ACA, CHIP and Medicaid working together, we have seen a significant decline in the number of uninsured children in our state. But of these programs, the biggest insurer for kids is Medicaid. Medicaid insures over 200,000 children; the ACA covers an estimated 38,000 children.

Now Congress is reversing this progress. The proposed repeal act threatens the health and well-being of Utah children and families.

By proposing to place a fixed cap allotment on the Medicaid program, the proposal places arbitrary, harmful limits on the amount of care a vulnerable child can receive. Caps inevitably lead to cuts in care. The children that will bear the burden of these cuts are our kids with special health care needs and chronic conditions: kids with cancer, asthma, or cystic fibrosis

A Medicaid cap shifts costs to the state and creates more instability and volatility to a program that has worked for over 50 years.UtahMedicaidCHIP 2

In addition, while the proposal retains the provision in the ACA that allows children to stay on their parents’ health care to age 26, which we support, it phases out parallel language that allows children in foster care to retain their Medicaid coverage to age 26 through presumptive eligibility. Children aging out of foster care are some of our nation’s most at-risk kids. This proposal would leave vulnerable transition-age youth without coverage.

There are other dangerous provisions in the proposed bill, including cuts to Planned Parenthood and a rollback of essential health benefit protections. As more details emerge in the coming days, we will provide updates and analysis about the impact on kids and families.

But the bottom line is clear:

Congress’ repeal plan will hurt our most vulnerable children and families, drive up costs for families, and reverse the gains we have made for children’s health coverage and care.

Our families need a strong health care foundation now. Cuts to the Medicaid program will ripple throughout our health care system and hurt Utah families now and into the future.

For more information about how ACA repeal tax credits will affect families, see the Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.

Take Action!

Sign this petition.


LUGU Logo 1March 30, 2017 is Love UT Give UT!

It’s a day for Utahns to give to the nonprofits that make Utah special. Every donation to Voices for Utah Children through Love UT Give UT gives Voices a chance to win matching grants and prizes—and gives you a chance to win a car!

And you don't have to wait!  Donate now at http://bit.ly/loveUTchildren.

For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express for sponsoring our 30th Anniversary Year. Amex

Published in News & Blog

Why We Care About Medicaid “EPSDT” Benefits
and So Should You

While threats to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may seem the most imminent in our current political landscape, Medicaid is also under attack. Congress and the new administration are discussing deep cuts and changes to the Medicaid program, through Medicaid block grants or per capita program caps. The new administration recently said they will be proposing block grants

Medicaid block grants result in funding cuts and fewer people receiving coverage. Utah has long been recognized as a leader in health care innovation, but our ability to innovate will be severely impaired if we experience cuts to our foundational health care safety-net system through block grants. Medicaid is the cornerstone to children’s health coverage in Utah.

In a recent letter to Congress on January 13th, the Governor and state officials weighed in on a number of health reform proposals, including Medicaid. We saw many areas for concern in our state leaders’ letter; one brief recommendation in particular jumped out at us, because it would have significant and long-lasting consequences for children and families:

“Reevaluate the EPDST (Early Period Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment) benefit for children. EPDST requires states to provide comprehensive and preventative health services for Medicaid beneficiaries under the age of 21 with few limitations.
Consider limiting benefits to what is available in the private market. Currently, children on Medicaid have more access to services and benefits than children who are covered under good commercial plans.”

So, what is EPSDT?

Early, Periodic Screenings, Diagnosis & Treatment

Utah Medicaid Long TermThe EPSDT benefit, known in Utah as “CHEC” or Children’s Health Evaluation and Care, is one of the hallmarks of the Medicaid program. The Medicaid Act currently requires states to provide children with a comprehensive scope of services. For decades, EPSDT has allowed providers to catch potential health problems early, when they are easiest to treat and children stand the best chance of developing to their fullest potential. Covered EPSDT services include basic preventative care, such as dental and vision services, plus services needed to address acute, long-term, and disabling conditions, such as physical, speech and behavioral health therapies and in-home nursing. The EPSDT benefit is considered the gold standard for children’s pediatric benefits. It helps doctors determine the best level of care for their patient.

EPSDT has helped millions of children, especially children with special health care needs, receive the level of the care they need. In fact, many families in the private insurance market will turn to Medicaid coverage for their children with special health care needs-- because they cannot afford such comprehensive benefits in their “good” commercial plan.

We Need to Protect EPSDT

Medicaid is the cornerstone for children’s health coverage in our state, and serves over 20% of our most vulnerable families. If we roll-back the EPSDT benefit, we will see a surge of parents no longer able to afford care, particularly for children with special health care needs.
EPSDT protects families; it assures families that they can receive a minimum level of coverage and have access to services that meet prevailing standards of care. For many higher-income families, Medicaid may seem unconnected to their day-to-day lives. But one of the core tenets of our health care safety-net is that it is there for families when they need it.

There are many improvements needed to our Medicaid program. But the EPSDT benefit package is not one of them. So why fix what isn’t broken? Instead, for example, Medicaid mental and behavioral health services should be better integrated and aligned with physical health benefits.
Instead of trying to raise health care standards for all kids, our state and federal leaders are instead looking to dilute standards. It is perverse logic to limit progress and roll-back gains, in order to achieve equality. Instead we should advance the progress made so all children can achieve affordable, comprehensive coverage.

We urge our state and federal leaders:

Do not limit benefits for children and weaken our existing standards.
Build on the progress we have made.
Strengthen coverage and care for all Utah children.


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express, our "Making a Difference All Year Long" sponsor. Amex

 

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