Advocacy Update: Congress Acts on ACA Repeal
March 13, 2017
Last week, House Republicans released the American Health Care Act to repeal and replace sections the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"). The bill makes several changes to sections of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including a rollback of the Medicaid expansion authorized by the ACA and a restructuring of the way States will receive Medicaid funding.
The bill would make a number of changes to Medicaid financing, including creation of a per capita cap model (i.e., per enrollee limits on federal payments to States) starting in fiscal year 2020. The bill proposes to use States' FY 2016 as the base year to set targeted spending for each enrollee category. The bill does exempt certain payments from the spending caps and allows for certain exemptions for specific populations.
School districts receive about $4 billion dollars a year in Medicaid funding. Public school districts use Medicaid funding to provide students in poverty and students with disabilities vital health care and medically necessary services. Restructuring Medicaid to a per capita basis will have a significant impact on funding schools receive and the level of reimbursement for medical services provided to students.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee considered the legislation, including amendments to the bill. Both committees approved the legislation on March 9th. Next, the House Budget Committee will compile the legislation into one reconciliation package prior to House consideration. Republican leadership indicated that this is the first of three legislative initiatives to rollback provisions of Obamacare.
NYSSBA is working closely with NSBA to urge Congress to oppose changes to Medicaid that would negatively impact public school districts. NSBA joined more than 40 other advocacy groups to send a letter to Congress illustrating the negative consequences of the Medicaid proposal. NSBA's letter can be read below.
U.S. Senate Votes to Repeal Two Obama Administration Education Regulations
Last week, the U.S. Senate voted to repeal two regulatory packages finalized in the last months of the Obama Administration. On Wednesday, the Senate voted to repeal teacher preparation regulations finalized by the Obama Administration last year. While the regulations primarily impacted teacher preparation programs in institutions of higher education, the rule did include provisions requiring local school districts to provide mandatory clinical settings for pre-service teachers to gain needed classroom experience. Additionally, the rule would have imposed new data collection and reporting requirements that would have resulted in fiscal and operational burdens.
The Senate also approved the repeal of the regulations approved by the Obama Administration last November. The Accountability regulations were set to take effect on January 30th, but the Department of Education postponed the effective date to March 21st. As a result, the regulations have not yet taken effect. The regulatory package included over twenty regulations that addressed all matters relating to accountability and set requirements for State Plans, which States have been working to develop and finalize for the last year.
The Department of Education has announced the Administration will maintain previously announced State plan application deadlines that had been included in the regulations.
NSBA submitted letters of support for both of these changes. Their letters can be accessed below.
NYSSBA's Governmental Relations team will continue to update you on these and other issues.
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