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  • Washington Highlights

    Senate Advances Medicaid Package

    Jason Kleinman, Senior Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations

    The Senate April 2 passed by voice vote the Medicaid Services Investment and Accountability Act of 2019 (H.R. 1839), a Medicaid package that includes the Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act (ACE Kids Act, H.R. 1226S. 317), as well as a funding extension for several Medicaid programs. The House passed the measure March 25 [see Washington Highlights, March 29].

    The AAMC joined a March 25 letter supporting the ACE Kids Act, which improves care for children with complex medical conditions in the Medicaid program. After its passage, Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) stated, “The Advancing Care for Exceptional (ACE) Kids Act will reduce the burden on families and caregivers by improving the coordination of medical care for these children. In addition, better coordination of care will reduce emergency room visits and hospitalizations and thereby reduce health care expenditures. Better coordination of care and healthier children is a great prescription.”

    The package also extends funding for several Medicaid programs, including: Money Follows the Person, to help individuals move from assisted living back into the community; a program to let married couples protect certain assets while seeking Medicaid coverage for home and community-based services; and a pilot program for community mental health centers. It also penalizes drugmakers who attempt to classify their drugs as generic to receive a larger Medicaid rebate.

    The package now awaits a signature from the president.