By Ielnaz Kashefipour, American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics, in partnership with the Children’s Hospitals Association (formerly NACHRI), this week produced updated state-by-state fact sheets that explain the importance of the Medicaid program for children. These fact sheets are used in federal and state advocacy efforts to protect the Medicaid program from proposed federal and state cuts and reforms that could threaten coverage, benefits, and access to care for the 32 million children who rely on Medicaid for care.
The information that these fact sheets contain, and the advocacy work they support, will have sustaining benefits and long-term impacts. For example, the fact sheets show that as a national average, a pediatrician treating a child who is on Medicaid receives only 70 percent of what would be paid to treat a senior on Medicare for the same illness. Importantly, the Affordable Care Act increases Medicaid payment rates to at least 100 percent of Medicare rates in calendar years 2013 and 2014 for many primary care services. States will receive 100 percent federal funding to cover this increase in payment. This is a landmark investment in improving access to care for children in the Medicaid program and must continue beyond 2014. Advocates and states are currently awaiting a Final Rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.