WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, Reps. Joe Barton (R-TX) and Kathy Castor (D-FL) introduced the Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act of 2017 (ACE Kids Act), H.R. 3325. The ACE Kids Act will help improve the coordination of and access to high-quality care to ensure optimal outcomes for children with complex medical conditions on Medicaid while assisting in containing costs. Other original co-sponsors in the House include; Reps. Gene Green, Anna Eshoo, Dave Reichert, and Jaime Herrera Beutler. A similar bill, S. 428, was introduced in the Senate in February.
Most children with complex medical conditions receive care from multiple pediatric providers at multiple locations whom they access through Medicaid. The state-by-state variability of Medicaid programs and lack of a coordinated care plan creates a care system that is often fragmented and unnecessarily burdensome for these children and families who frequently cross state lines to access specialized care.
“This bill is about giving our nations sickest children better care. It cuts through the bureaucratic red tape and tries to save the taxpayers some money. This innovative approach Congresswoman Castor and I have worked to draft has received buy in from children’s hospitals, primary and specialty care providers, state Medicaid directors, and family advocates,” said Rep. Barton. “We are confident this bill is ready to move through Congress and land on the President’s desk.”
“The goal of the bipartisan ACE Kids Act is simple: put children with complex medical conditions and their families first,” U.S. Rep. Castor said. “A medical home that coordinates care also saves precious time and money for families. I am proud of St. Joseph's Children's Hospital Chronic-Complex Clinic in Tampa, Fla., for leading the nation with its medical home model, and I look forward to working with my colleague, U.S. Rep. Barton, to help pass this legislation.”
BEHIND THE ACT
Medicaid covers roughly 30 million children; approximately 6 percent of these children have complex medical conditions yet account for 40 percent of Medicaid spending on children.
The ACE Kids Act of 2017 is designed to improve care for medically complex children in Medicaid, while also reducing spending. Published studies show cost savings and improved quality of care for this population when enrolled in an integrated and coordinated care program.
In the 114th Congress, the ACE Kids Act was supported by 43 cosponsors in the Senate and 228 cosponsors in the House. In the 115th Congress, S. 428 has 17 bipartisan cosponsors at present.
The ACE Kids Act is optional for states, children and families, and health care providers.