FF Logo

JANUARY 30, 1998 .......................................................................... NUMBER 77


TOPICS IN THIS ISSUE INCLUDE:


HCFA ADDRESSES SPECIAL HELP FOR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

Officials from HCFA held a conference call on January 14th and discussed the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The following issues were discussed (among others) related to CHIP implementation.

Special Help For Children with Special Needs

This was a very definitive call which discussed the special health care needs of children with special needs. As part of the Medicaid statute, states can choose to cover “reasonable classifications” of children whose Medicaid eligibility is not required by federal law.

HCFA leaders reported that states’ ability to provide Medicaid to “reasonable classifications” of children probably could let states receive enhanced match through CHIP by extending Medicaid, among children of a certain income and age, only to those with disabilities or special health care needs. THIS MEANS THAT A STATE COULD PERHAPS CREATE A SEPARATE STATE PROGRAM FOR MOST CHILDREN WITH A CERTAIN FAMILY INCOME LEVEL, BUT PROVIDE MEDICAID COVERAGE TO CHILDREN WITH THE SAME INCOME WHO HAVE SPECIAL HEALTH CARE NEEDS.

Family Coverage under CHIP

As to family coverage within the CHIP legislation, HCFA leaders said that it is cheaper to buy family coverage. HCFA leaders said that a state can take many different approaches to this issue, and if a state wants to make a proposal to cover parents as well as children, HCFA will look at it very seriously.

State Flexibility in Income Definition

HCFA leaders confirmed that states have the flexibility to obtain enhanced match to cover children with gross family income over 200% of poverty, using either Medicaid or separate state programs. States have used this flexibility to provide Medicaid to children with relatively high gross family incomes, and can now do the same under CHIP.

Review Process for State Plans

The following 15 states have already submitted plans: MO, CO, AL, PA, NY, CA, FL, SC, OH, MI, TN, IL, RI, MA and CT.

HCFA Website

HCFA maintains a website specifically devoted to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. The frequently updated website address is:

http://www.hcfa.gov/init/children.htm

To hear a recording of the January 14th conference call featuring HCFA officials, dial (617) 528-0420 and enter the access code 102206 followed by the pound sign (#). You may also access this information on the NPND website.


REPORT ON THE FICC

Last week the Federal Interagency Coordinating Council met in Washington, D.C. This Federally mandated Council brings together the Federal agencies responsible for Part H of IDEA and parent leaders from across the country. The FICC gathered to review all that has been accomplished, revisit their mission and recommit their efforts on behalf of the children served in the programs and their families. The Committee wants to become more pro-active in their efforts, especially in regard to work at the Federal level.


FAMILY SUPPORT TASK FORCE REORGANIZED

Leaders from the Consortium for Citizens for Disabilities (CCD) met this week to address the opportunity to work on Family Support law to find it a “home” in the government and to make sure that the funding listed in the President’s budget becomes a reality. The Family Support legislation came about as a result of the work of parents across the Nation.

In 1995, legislation was passed to begin Family Support in as many states as possible. At the time we hoped for 20 states to receive approximately $500,000 each to establish a statewide council for Family Support. Because of a legal “blip”, the law was never funded. Also, the law was attached to the IDEA. When IDEA was reauthorized, Congress did not include this program to continue under IDEA. They granted time for the legislation to be moved to another agency within the government or to expire. That date is September 30, 1998.

Patty Smith, Executive Director of NPND, Paul Marchand, Director of GA for the ARC and Beth Foley, Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) will lead the Task Force. This week plans were formulated to begin work on the Hill and with the various agencies involved with families.


CHILD CARE INITIATIVE

Each week we are providing information on the new Child Care Initiative proposed by President Clinton. This week, he and Mrs. Clinton unveiled proposals for a greatly expanded after school program. Our concern has been the inclusion of children with disabilities in all aspects of these proposals. We have been assured that our voices have been heard. The next step is to talk to your Congressional Representatives. Many of them, from both sides of the aisle, are very interested in these issues. Think of what would help your child and your family. Let these needs be known. Get to know the staffer in the Congressional offices for your state. In addition, tell the staffers in your state's local offices. If there are new programs for children, and we believe there will be, the needs of our children must be a part of any new laws.