Senate Medicaid debate picks up as Congress returns

The roiling U.S. Senate debate over healthcare – and possible Medicaid cuts to public schools – resumes this week as Congress returns from its July 4th recess. If Kansas school leaders have not already expressed concerns about possible cuts to Medicaid reimbursements to schools, they should contact Sen. Pat Roberts and Sen. Jerry Moran, as pressure mounts to pass a bill as early as this week.

Grassroots opposition to the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which seeks to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, (“Obamacare”) forced Senate leadership to postpone a late-June Senate vote on the bill. The BCRA could put up to $46 million in federal Medicaid reimbursements to Kansas public schools at risk by imposing an annual per-capita limit on those funds, which schools use to help provide special education and other medical services in schools.

KASB has posted a spreadsheet of Medicaid reimbursements to Kansas schools under Federal Issues at this link.

Moran, one of the few U.S. Senators to hold town hall meetings over the July 4th recess, has said he is opposed to the BCRA in its current form. Constituents who attended Moran’s meetings in Palco, Sublette and Liberal continued to air their concerns about the bill. Moran was one of nine Senators to oppose the bill; Republicans have a narrow 52-46 margin over Democrats in the U.S. Senate with two independents who caucus with Democrats.

Roberts, who did not hold constituent meetings over the break, said in June he supported the BCRA, calling the measure “the best possible bill under very difficult circumstances.”

President Donald Trump on Sunday pushed for action on the ACA repeal and replace effort; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, has indicated the Senate’s bill faces steep opposition and he may have to produce a new bill that includes compromises to gain support from Democrats and moderate Republicans.

KASB members should follow KASB’s News Briefs and social media accounts for the latest on the health care legislation and its potential impact on Kansas public schools.

To voice your concerns, please use this contact information:

Email: Sen. Pat Roberts  Phone: (202)-224-4774

Email: Sen. Jerry Moran  Phone: (202)-224-6521

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