Medicaid Supports New York’s Schools and Children

For immediate release:
April 20, 2017
Contact:
Ron Deutsch, Executive Director, Fiscal Policy Institute
518-786-3156 (o), 518-469-6769 (c)
Christy DeBoe Hicks, State Communications Specialist, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
(202) 408-1080; cdhicks@cbpp.org

 Medicaid Supports New York’s Schools and Children

House Republican Plans to Cut Medicaid Would Jeopardize Critical Health Services for Students

[Albany, NY] – New York’s schools receive over $273 million from Medicaid each year, according to data released by the Washington, DC-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. This funding pays for medical services for Medicaid-eligible students with disabilities, such as mental health and speech therapy. It also covers vision and dental screenings provided in schools to Medicaid-eligible children, and helps schools connect low-income children to other health care services that aren’t provided in schools, but are critical to a child’s development.

“Medicaid plays a little known but important role in supporting New York State’s schools and making sure children in our schools, especially those with disabilities, get the care and services they need,” said Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of the Fiscal Policy Institute.

House Republicans continue to pursue the American Health Care Act (AHCA), however, to replace the Affordable Care Act passed during the Obama administration. As it stands, the AHCA would cut federal Medicaid funding by $839 billion over the next decade. In addition to putting health care at risk for millions of Americans, these efforts would jeopardize critical health-related services for school-aged children and put an important source of funds for schools and states at risk.

In its current form, Medicaid provides affordable and comprehensive health care coverage for millions of seniors, people with disabilities and children across the country, including over 2.5 million children in New York State alone. Medicaid also provides funding to help schools pay the salaries of health care and other staff who provide important services to students, not just those with Medicaid coverage. In fact, in 2017, 68 percent of school superintendents reported that they used Medicaid funding to keep school nurses, school counselors, speech therapists, and other health professionals on staff.

Any cuts to Medicaid could jeopardize the benefits these health care professionals provide.

Moreover, Medicaid funding cuts could squeeze New York’s education budget, impeding efforts to help schools implement proven reforms such as hiring and retaining excellent teachers, reducing class sizes, and expanding the availability of high-quality early education —vital components to helping all children thrive in school.

“Without the support they get from Medicaid, many schools throughout New York would struggle to afford keeping nurses and counselors on staff, struggle to give students with disabilities the services they need and are entitled to receive, and struggle to provide basic screenings for Medicaid-eligible children,” said Deutsch. “Policymakers in Washington should protect Medicaid – not cut it.”

To learn more about how Medicaid helps schools, please visit: http://www.cbpp.org/research/health/medicaid-helps-schools-help-children

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The Fiscal Policy Institute (www.fiscalpolicy.org) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and education organization committed to improving public policies and private practices to better the economic and social conditions of all New Yorkers.