FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—July 5, 2017
US Senate Health Bill Would Damage NC’s Child Welfare System
Medicaid cuts would undermine state-level reforms
RALEIGH, N.C.—Proposed Medicaid cuts in the US Senate’s health care bill pose a serious threat to the recovery of child victims of abuse and neglect and the services they rely on, according to a new brief by NC Child.
“State legislators took a significant step towards strengthening North Carolina’s child welfare system and improving outcomes for children in foster care by passing House Bill 630. Unfortunately, federal Medicaid cuts under consideration in Congress would reduce critical funding for the services these kids need,” said Rob Thompson, senior policy and communications advisor with NC Child.
Medicaid is the health insurance program for all children in foster care in North Carolina, and deep cuts would jeopardize their access to needed treatment. The Congressional Budget Office projects that the Senate health bill would cut Medicaid by $772 billion over 10 years with accelerating cuts after 2026. These cuts would likely lead to reductions in benefits for enrollees and reductions in provider reimbursement rates, both of which would limit access to services.
In the report, NC Child highlighted the increased mental and physical health care needs of children in foster care, the impact of the opioid crisis, and funding for evidence-based trauma treatment as examples of Medicaid’s critical role in the child welfare system.
The NC Child Treatment Program, for instance, has significantly expanded the accessibility of evidence-based trauma treatment models, which rely on licensed Medicaid providers to deliver services to children across North Carolina.
“Our network of trained clinicians provides evidence-based strategies to help child victims of abuse and neglect recover from their trauma. Historically, more than three-quarters of the patients we see are covered by Medicaid or NC Health Choice, so any major cuts to these programs would likely mean we would be able to help fewer vulnerable children,” said Dana Hagele, MD, MPH, co-director of the NC Child Treatment Program.*
NC Child called on U.S. Senators Tillis and Burr to protect children in foster care and vote against cuts to Medicaid.
“If Senators Tillis and Burr truly care about helping victims of abuse and neglect overcome their trauma, they must protect funding for evidence-based treatment, and that means voting ‘no’ on Medicaid cuts,” said Thompson.
The issue brief can be accessed on the NC Child website.
*The NC Child Treatment Program is not affiliated with NC Child.