This is a reprint published by The Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP). CCLP is a nonprofit, non-partisan research and advocacy organization that engages in legislative, administrative and legal advocacy on behalf of low-income Coloradans.
Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the House Republicans’ American Health Care Act would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 24 million over the next 10 years, result in big reductions in assistance for lower-income consumers who purchase insurance on the state exchange, and lead to a precipitous 25 percent drop in federal funding for Medicaid over 10 years. Read this analysis from CCLP’s Bethany Pray and this fact sheet for more details.
The short-term changes from theAct would be significant. With 14 million Americans projected to be uninsured just one year from now, approximately 238,000 more Coloradans could lose or forgo coverage. The repeal of the mandate to purchase insurance would be one factor in people’s decision-making. Those most likely to drop coverage would be younger Coloradans, while those with greater health needs would have reason to stay in. When carriers have to pay more for a typical enrollee, they raise premiums. That shift in the health status of those who are covered is projected to increase premium rates in 2018 and 2019 by 15 to 20 percent. These and successive drops in coverage will return Colorado to a scenario where hospitals must cover increasing amounts of uncompensated care, and that drives up costs for everyone.
You can learn more through the Protect Our Care Colorado website.
Bright Futures Update
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced the publication of the updated Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents, which outlines guidelines for 31 health supervision visits, plus the prenatal visit. AAP also updated its Bright Futures Periodicity Schedule, adopted by many state EPSDT programs to schedule screenings and assessments recommended at each well-child visit from infancy through adolescence. (See also the National Health Law Program’s State EPSDT Information, providing direct links to the Medicaid agencies’ EPSDT divisions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.)
Well Visit Planner Now in Mobile Format
The Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative has recently optimized its free online Well Visit Planner (WVP) tool for mobile use. The WVP helps parents of children ages four months to six years plan for their child’s next preventive care visit by answering questions about the child’s growth and development, choosing priorities for discussion, and getting a personalized visit guide. The tool takes less than 10 minutes to complete and is based upon recommendations established by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Bright Futures Guidelines. (For more information on the WVP, see Frequently Asked Questions for Families or see past newsletters.)
Medicaid is a vital program for children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) – children who have any of a broad range of chronic illnesses and/or disabilities (e.g., cerebral palsy, epilepsy, diabetes, autism). Approximately 15 million, nearly 20 percent, of all U.S. children have special health care needs. Over 44 percent of these children rely in whole or part on Medicaid or CHIP to cover the costs of their care.
Over 11 million CYSHCN – 35.9 percent — rely completely on public insurance to get the services they need. Another 8.2 percent have a combination of private and public insurance. In those cases, Medicaid helps families pay for out-of-pocket costs, and may serve as “wrap-around” coverage to supply services or devices not covered by their private plans. For example, some medical equipment and assistive devices (such as hearing aids) may not be covered under traditional insurance plans but are available through Medicaid.
Accordingly, Medicaid can save families from bankruptcy that might otherwise result from high medical bills. In many cases, it also allows parents to continue working by supplying caretaking services for their children.
In addition, Medicaid helps to prevent or ameliorate disabilities, since children on Medicaid have access to Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT). Early screening and diagnosis means that developmental or health problems can be identified early in a child’s life, and necessary treatment can be provided before a condition develops or becomes more severe. As a result, some children can avoid the need for special education services.
If not for Medicaid —
- Santina – a teen from Pennsylvania with Rett Syndrome and epilepsy – could lose access to her medication. And, her single mother would probably have to quit her two jobs if Medicaid’s safety net were not there to provide a caretaker for her daughter.
- The family of Joshua – whose life-saving liver transplant was paid for by Oregon Medicaid — would not have the means to pay for the 22 medications he must take every day.
- Jason, from Ohio – who has developmental delays that leave him unable to speak, walk, or use his hands in a coordinated fashion – would lose the early intervention, speech, occupational, and physical therapies that will one day allow him to walk, speak and use his hands.
In short, millions of vulnerable children and their families rely on Medicaid to help them obtain and pay for critical medical care and related services.
Please send me your stories about how Medicaid or CHIP has helped your family.
Tom Rose firstname.lastname@example.org