House Committee Wants To Rewrite Medicaid Buy-In Bill for Families with Disabled Children
The House Energy and Commerce Committee wants to rewrite a bill (S 321) that would permit low-income families with severely disabled children to buy in to Medicaid, presenting a possible "snag" in lawmakers' efforts to pass the legislation this session, CongressDaily reports. Aides for lawmakers who support the bill have been meeting with aides for committee members over the last few weeks to "try to resolve disagreements over the structure of the legislation," which has been introduced in each of the last three congressional sessions, CongressDaily reports (Fulton, CongressDaily, 10/15). Under the bill, disabled children in families with incomes up to 250% of the federal poverty level, or $45,000 for a family of four, would be eligible to receive Medicaid benefits. Current income eligibility limits are 133% of the poverty level for children younger than age 6 and 100% of the poverty level for children ages 6 to 18. The bill would give states the option of changing those eligibility qualifications for disabled children. About 200,000 additional disabled children would be eligible for coverage under the expansion (American Health Line, 7/12).
A spokesperson for Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who cosponsored the legislation, said, "Despite the fact that [the bill] (has) more than 70 co-sponsors in the Senate, a number of Republicans have very strong objections to any effort to expand Medicaid." However, a spokesperson for House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Billy Tauzin (R-La.) said the committee has "genuine concerns," according to CongressDaily. Tauzin supports a change in the bill that would provide states the option of offering the coverage through either their Medicaid or CHIP programs. Tauzin's spokesperson added, "We're not going to get backed into a corner and have something shoved down our throats." Lawmakers plan to meet today in an attempt to resolve the issue (CongressDaily, 10/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.