Take Action: Ask your members of Congress to: 1) ensure adequate funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and 2) oppose any efforts to further restrict or limit payment for school-based Medicaid services for children with special needs.
Static federal appropriations for IDEA have forced states and school districts to seek alternative funding streams to support the education of students with disabilities. Congress must keep its promise to provide up to 40% of IDEA funding by first restoring and then increasing funding for special education (e.g., IDEA grants and programs). The primary alternative funding stream to IDEA is Medicaid.
The use of IDEA funds to support struggling students in general education erodes the financial resources available to 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.
Medicaid covers essential health-related services provided to children in schools. Medicaid helps pay for certain health care services that are delivered in the schools when medically necessary and educationally relevant. A block grant or per-capita allotment system would undermine funding for school-based services.
Medicaid funding reflects only a small part of the total cost for treatment and special education. Medicaid payments for medically necessary services 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.