MIL-OSI USA: Trahan, Miller-Meeks Bill to Expand Health Care Access for Kids Advanced by House Committee

Recommended Sponsor - Buy Original Artwork Directly from the Artist

Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Lori Trahan (D-MA-03)

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswomen Lori Trahan (D-MA-03) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA-01), members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee, secured unanimous passage of their bipartisan legislation in a Committee markup to help children with complex medical conditions access critical care. The Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act, which the lawmakers introduced last July with Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), would make it easier for families who need to travel out of state to find care for their child’s rare diseases.

“For kids and families battling rare diseases like childhood cancer, minimizing the time between diagnosis or crisis and beginning treatment means everything,” said Congresswoman Trahan. “Passage of the bipartisan Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act is a crucial step toward ensuring every child can get the lifesaving care they need when and where they need it.”

“Today’s passage of the Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act is critical for children fighting rare and complex diseases,” said Congresswoman Miller-Meeks. “This bill gives children with rare and complex diseases access to health care institutions and research facilities that are in many cases out of state. It also cuts bureaucratic red tape and significant wait times that bottleneck patient care and risk exacerbating a child’s health condition.”

Children with complex medical needs may not have the specialized care they need within their home state. In these instances, parents must work with health care providers and state Medicaid officials to find out-of-state care. The process is difficult and full of red tape, often delaying children and their families from receiving the care they desperately need – and in some cases blocking access to care all together. During today’s markup, Trahan highlighted the story of a baby born with a rare condition that went untreated for months because of repeated delays in her home state’s approval process that prevented her family from traveling to Boston for the surgery she needed.

In order to reduce barriers to out-of-state care, the Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act allows states to streamline the process for out-of-state pediatric care providers to enroll in another state’s Medicaid program, while also safeguarding important program integrity processes. The legislation enables smooth coordination across state lines by clarifying the process by which state Medicaid programs can cover this care regardless of where the child lives and where their care is received.

Present at today’s vote in the House Energy and Commerce Committee were families who have experienced challenges accessing care for their children due to approval delays by their state’s Medicaid program. Representatives from children’s hospitals also attended the hearing, including Boston Children’s Hospital, which has endorsed the Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act.

“The Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act is a great example of thoughtful bipartisan legislation that, once enacted, will solve a major problem in caring for children on Medicaid or CHIP with complex conditions who require care from out-of-state providers. This is a well-thought-out bill that respects the federal-state partnership of Medicaid and CHIP,” said Dr. Kevin Churchwell, CEO of Boston Children’s Hospital. “Once enacted, it will help remove barriers that today lead to worse health outcomes and higher healthcare costs. I applaud Congresswomen Trahan and Miller-Meeks for their leadership and also thank Energy & Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Health Subcommittee Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Ranking Member Anna Eshoo (D-CA) for their leadership in moving the bill forward, and I urge House leaders to bring this legislation to the full House for a vote as soon as possible.” 

A full list of the 215 organizations supporting the Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act is available HERE. The legislation now moves to the House floor for a vote.