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Senator Seeks to Protect Medicaid Services for Schools in GOP Health Care Bill

Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., plans to introduce an amendment to the Senate Republicans' health care bill that would shield Medicaid services for schools from cuts.

Hassan, who was elected last year and is on the Senate education committee, said Tuesday she wants to spare school districts from "decimating" reductions to Medicaid-backed programs in the GOP legislation.

By dollar amount, about $4 billion annually, Medicaid is the third-largest federal program that provides funding to public schools. A bill to overhaul health care that House lawmakers passed in May would change the funding structure of Medicaid. The change was supported by those who think states should have more flexbility over Medicaid money, but it alarmed school funding advocates. Similar concerns exist with Senate proposals for Medicaid that may be included in finalized legislation.

"In addition to providing health care coverage to thousands of young Granite Staters, Medicaid helps school districts cover costs for special education services and equipment for students who experience disabilities," said Ricki Eshman, Hassan's spokeswoman, in a statement. 

A draft version of the amendment would require "that no provision in the bill would reduce or eliminate the amount, duration, or scope of Medicaid services available in schools under current law." A final Senate vote on its health care legislation is expected some time this week.


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