Take Action: Ask your members of Congress to: 1) defend and support funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and 2) oppose any efforts to further restrict or limit payment on school-based Medicaid services for children with special needs.
Static federal appropriations of funding for IDEA has forced states and school districts to seek alternative funding streams to support the education and services for students with disabilities. Congress must keep its promise to provide up to 40% of IDEA funding by restoring and then increasing funding for special education (e.g., IDEA grants and programs). The primary alternative funding stream to IDEA is Medicaid.
Permissive and mandated use of IDEA funds (up to 15%) for struggling learners in general education erode the financial support for special education students. IDEA and the Every Student Succeeds Act should share funding responsibility for struggling learners receiving comprehensive early intervention services and the U.S. Department of Education should provide additional guidance to states and local districts on how to ensure that Multi-Tiered System of Supports are appropriately provided and funded.
Although Medicaid is a "medical" assistance program, Medicaid covers health-related services provided to children under IDEA. Medicaid encourages states to use funds to help pay for certain health care services that are delivered in the schools. A block grant or per-capita allotment system may undermine funding for school-based services.
Medicaid payment to schools for medically necessary services reflects only a small part of the total cost for treatment. Payments for allowable Medicaid administrative activities do not duplicate payments included as part of a direct medically necessary service and should not be restricted.
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Legislation Background: Legislation has not been introduced on this issue. ASHA staff are working with members of Congress and their staff to move legislation forward.