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Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal

Representing the 7th District of Washington

Rep. Jayapal Releases Report on Disastrous Effects of Trumpcare on Children with Disabilities in Washington State

June 27, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Today, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal released a report examining the devastating impact of Trumpcare on Washington state children with severe disabilities and special health care needs whose lives depend on the programs that Trumpcare is threatening.

The report, prepared by the Democratic staff of the Committee on Oversight and Government, finds that Republican efforts to fundamentally restructure the Medicaid program would have particularly harmful and lasting effects on children with severe disabilities and other special health care needs.

“Children, along with millions of others whose lives will be harmed by Trumpcare, have done absolutely nothing to warrant such extreme treatment by the Republicans,” said Rep. Jayapal. “All leaders of conscience must stand with me and my colleagues to stop the moral monstrosity that is Trumpcare.”

The report’s release comes after Jayapal and her colleagues toured Children’s National Medical Center and met with patients and their families earlier today. More than half of the patients at Children’s National are on Medicaid.

The report describes the negative effects of Republican proposals on children with special health care needs. In Washington, for example:

  • About 235,900 children have special health care needs such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and autism. These children come from all backgrounds, and families with the lowest household incomes have the highest incidence of children with special health care needs.  
  • Approximately 21.3 percent of families in Washington who have children with special health care needs report facing financial difficulties as a result of their children’s health care needs.
  • Approximately 40.4 percent of children with special health care needs in Washington rely wholly or partially on public insurance programs such as Medicaid. Many qualify based on their parents’ low household income; a small fraction qualify based solely on their disabilities.
  • Because children with special health care needs often require intensive long-term care and support services, on average, they are about 12 times more costly to state Medicaid programs than children without such needs.
  • In 2011, Washington spent approximately $17,200 for each child who qualified for Medicaid based solely on a disability.

Republican efforts to repeal the ACA and slash the Medicaid program threaten the ability of children with severe disabilities and special health care needs to access care at home, in school and at medical facilities throughout the country. This jeopardizes their access to care at hospitals and long-term facilities; basic preventive health care services such as dental, vision screenings and routine checkups, and traditional services such as hospitalizations, doctor visits and prescription drug coverage; speech and occupational therapy for children with severe disabilities; and the ability of the families of these children to provide at-home care, rather than be forced to send their children to institutions.

Last month, House Republicans passed a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, reverse its Medicaid expansion and drastically limit future Medicaid funding. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that the Republican House bill would slash Medicaid funding by $834 billion over ten years and leave 14 million fewer Americans with health insurance through Medicaid. The president reportedly stated that the Republican House bill was “mean” and that he wanted the Senate to pass a bill with “heart.”

However, the Republican Senate bill would harm Medicaid even more profoundly than the House-passed bill by further restricting the growth rate for future federal funding. The Senate bill would disguise these larger cuts by delaying their implementation until later years, but the CBO score released yesterday found that the Senate bill would leave 22 million more Americans uninsured by 2026, including 15 million Americans who would lose their Medicaid coverage.

The Children’s Hospital Association—which represents 220 children’s hospitals and describes itself as “the voice of children’s hospitals”—has openly opposed the Republican ACA repeal bill, stating that “at its core, the bill is a major step backward for children and their health,” and “children’s hospitals across the country call on senators to reject this bill, a bad bill for kids.”

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