WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee approved the Protecting the Medicaid Safety Net Act (H.R. 5613), legislation placing one-year moratorium on seven Medicaid regulations imposed by the Bush administration that would make significant cuts to the program over the next five years. First Focus lauded the approval of the legislation and its cosponsors, Representatives John D. Dingell (D-MI) and Tim Murphy (R-PA).

“While the federal government was unable to advance and improve the health of children last year due to the president’s veto of the children’s health bill, it was critical for Congress to overturn Administration regulations that would actually do harm to the health of our nation’s children,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. “Congressman Dingell and Murphy should be applauded for their leadership on halting the implementation of all seven of these regulations together. This consolidated bill offers a unified message to Congress that the Administration is overstepping its authority and that vulnerable populations would lose access to critical health services if these regulations became effective.”

First Focus has been an outspoken leader in the fight to overturn these regulations. In March, the organization released a report on the impact of the regulatory actions on children with special health care needs, finding they would have a disproportionate impact on that vulnerable population. Congressman Dingell later pointed to that report as the evidence that the Administration’s new Medicaid Regulations would weaken health care for children. Moreover, in March First Focus issued a letter of support to Chairman Dingell, in addition to working with a broad coalition of communities affected by the regulations that was organized by Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to secure over 1,500 signatures in a letter from an array of state, local and national groups.

The legislation calls for the moratorium to be in effect until March, 2009.

CMS Medicaid Regulations: Implications for Children with Special Health Care Needs

Letters & Correspondence:
April 7, 2008: Letter to House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee