We need you to help us stop dangerous legislation that will harm youth in the child welfare system!
The Senate is dangerously close to passing the Graham-Cassidy bill, the latest in a series of bills which aims to repeal the Affordable Care Act and eliminate the current funding of Medicaid. Juvenile Law Center and other child advocates are deeply concerned about the threats this legislation poses to children in the child welfare system. The cuts to Medicaid – through block granting and per capita caps – pose a special threat to youth with the highest health care needs and their families.
TAKE ACTION NOW
Call your Senators TODAY and demand they vote NO on the Cassidy-Graham bill. Look up your Senators here.
Caps mean states will be forced to ration care. If the need exceeds the cap, the cost will fall on the state or locality – the majority of which will not have adequate funds. This will stall any efforts to expand the health insurance safety net. Choices between care for seniors will have to be weighed against health care for medically fragile children and mental health services for adults who care for them. Because youth and families involved with the child welfare system often have high health care needs, these caps will put a strain on the ability of systems to serve youth and families. As a result, kids may enter foster care and costly institutions simply because parents cannot afford their care. Child welfare agencies, which are required to provide for the needs of youth in their care, will likely be overburdened and have to foot the bill for health care needs.
Loss of coverage to poor families will mean an increase in the numbers of youth coming into the child welfare system and a decrease in those able to return home. Medicaid for adults and expansion of coverage to poor adults has greatly improved both the capacity of families to care for their kids and the capacity of child welfare agencies to serve families. The need for addiction and mental health services for these parents is growing in many states, as the opioid crisis continues. Depriving adults of care has catastrophic consequences, often felt most painfully by their children. Dismantling Medicaid will drive more youth into foster care and will not create a savings in improved health outcomes.
Accessible, quality health care serves as a foundation for many of our essential social service systems. Cassidy-Graham negatively impacts them all ― child welfare, juvenile justice, special education, disability services, homelessness prevention, among others.
This bill will have harmful human costs that we must guard against. We urge you to call your Senators TODAY and demand they vote NO on the Cassidy-Graham bill. Look up your Senators here.