CHN: Senate Passes Bill to Help Families With Disabled Children Receive Medicaid
On Thursday, May 6 the Senate passed by unanimous consent a bill that will help middle-income families whose children have disabilities to buy Medicaid coverage to help pay for the health care for their children. The Family Opportunity Act (S 622), sponsored by Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), and Max Baucus (D-MT), allows families earning up to 250 percent of the federal poverty line ($47,125 for a family of four) to purchase Medicaid coverage on a sliding scale.
Currently, Medicaid offers more coverage and benefits than most private health insurance plans. In order to remain eligible for Medicaid, many families whose children have disabilities try to keep their income low enough to remain eligible, and turn down raises, opportunities for overtime, or better paying jobs. The Family Opportunity Act, also called the Dylan Lee James Act, attempts to remove some of the disincentives to work. It will add $6.6 billion to Medicaid in the next 10 years and is projected to help about one million children. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicaid, has not yet taken up the House counterpart legislation (HR 1811).
For More Information
Finance Committee Report 108-157 on Family Opportunity Act