Kansas education groups call on Roberts, Moran to protect Medicaid funding to schools

The Kansas Association of School Boards, United School Administrators-Kansas and the Kansas Association of Special Education Administrators (KASEA) are calling on U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran to protect Medicaid payments to schools as the U.S. Senate writes a health care bill designed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare.”

Kansas schools currently receive approximately $46 million in Medicaid reimbursements for in-school services such as speech, physical therapy and behavioral therapy mandated by students’ Individualized Educational Programs under federal law. Those funds could be placed at risk if the Senate bill contains provisions of an ACA repeal and replace bill passed by the U.S. House in early May.

H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) would allow states to no longer consider schools eligible Medicaid providers, thereby eliminating or severely curtailing in-school services for special education students.

The House bill also imposes a per-capita cap on certain populations, such as children, that are eligible for Medicaid services. Medicaid is currently an “entitlement” program that is designed to cover most costs for eligible people. Placing a per-capita cap on Medicaid would limit its scope of service, potentially forcing states to ration care for school children and requiring local school districts to finance mandatory services through local funding sources.

KASB has prepared an excel file showing current Medicaid reimbursement amounts for school districts and special education cooperatives, sortable by school district and county. Here is a link to the webpage. Go to Federal Education Issues and click on Medicaid Reimbursement Cut Impact on Kansas Schools.

The U.S. Senate is drafting its own version of the AHCA but no substantive information has been released or hearings scheduled. Furthermore, numerous media reports suggest the Senate will attempt to pass its bill before Congress adjourns for the July 4 recess, heightening educators’ concerns that a poorly-drafted bill will have unintended consequences for Kansas schools and the children they serve.

“The Kansas Association of School Boards believes the U.S. Senate should hold public hearings on any plan that might jeopardize funding for critical services to Kansas students,” said KASB Executive Director John Heim. “The potential loss of up to $46 million in Medicaid reimbursements to Kansas schools will quickly wipe out any gains Kansas schools may receive under the state’s pending school finance law, including a proposed $12 million addition to state special education funding for each of the next two years. We call on Senators Roberts and Moran to press for a transparent discussion of the importance of Medicaid reimbursements to Kansas school districts.”

“Kansas school administrators are committed to a quality education for all Kansas students,” said USA Kansas Executive Director G.A. Buie. “That includes the mandatory special education services many students receive at school. Medicaid reimbursement for those services is critical to our ability to serve Kansas school children at the level they require and deserve. We urge Senator Roberts and Senator Moran to ensure Medicaid reimbursements to schools are included in any Senate health care bill.”

“Every school district in Kansas provides speech and language services, physical therapy services and occupational therapy services to children via special education mandated by their individual Educational Plan (IEP),“ said Terry Collins, KASEA Legislative Liaison. “Under current law, we are then able to apply for Medicaid reimbursement to pay for these services.  As the U.S. Senate writes legislation this month to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, we ask Senator Roberts and Senator Moran to explain the impact of Medicaid funding on Kansas schools.”

For More Information:

Leah Fliter, KASB
office: 785-271-4528
cell: 785-320-1491

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