As Congress works on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, many of the Medicaid programs eliminated or significantly reduced in the House proposal remain as part of the recently released Senate bill. And most of those programs specifically support children’s health and well-being. According to a post on the HealthAffairsBlog, both the House and Senate bills “would make it harder for many children to receive the care they need.”
Block grants are one way these new health care bills reduce spending for children’s programs. The main point of this article—and a primary focus of ASHA advocacy—is the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) mandate, which is threatened under both proposals. As explained in the article, states permitted to convert Medicaid funding to block grants would no longer be required to cover the EPSDT, which “ensures children have access to the services they need to be healthy and excel at school—and, research demonstrates time and again that healthy kids are better learners.”
More on proposed budget cuts and how they might affect audiologists and SLPs:
Shelley D. Hutchins is content editor/producer for The ASHA Leader. firstname.lastname@example.org.