Bennet, Grassley Reintroduce ACE Kids Act

Bill to Improve Care for Kids with Complex Medical Conditions enrolled in Medicaid

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Patty Murray (D-WA) this week reintroduced their bipartisan bill to improve health outcomes and care coordination for children with complex medical conditions on Medicaid.

"Families with sick children face enough challenges as it is, without government bureaucracy complicating the process," Bennet said. "This bill will make it more manageable for families to navigate the health care landscape, especially if they have to travel across state lines for specialized care. We are proud of the work Children's Hospital Colorado is doing as they serve patients from nearly all 50 states, and hope this bill will make it possible for them to coordinate care and ensure children around the country receive the specialized treatment they need."

"Children with complex medical conditions may be born with their conditions or develop them through disease or injury," Grassley said. "Sometimes their conditions result from having been born prematurely. Children with complex conditions have complex medical needs. They have better results when they receive coordinated health care. The ACE Kids Act would provide a system of care to ensure that these children receive that coordinated care."

"This is a commonsense bill that will help to ensure sick kids have better access to quality care," Portman said. "By improving coordination among pediatric providers, we will begin to make life easier for these children and their families."

"Quality medical care for our youngest and most vulnerable children is a priority that transcends ideology," Harris said. "Too often, children with complex medical conditions and their parents are forced to see multiple specialists and physicians, often across state borders. The Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act is a critical measure to provide better quality of care for the most severely ill children in our country, regardless of where they live."

"We shouldn't let unnecessary red tape prevent kids with complex medical conditions from getting the treatment they need," Blunt said. "I'm proud to join my colleagues in cosponsoring this bipartisan bill, which relieves burdens on families by coordinating care. I'll continue working to help sick children in Missouri and nationwide receive the quality care they deserve."

"Nearly two million children in Florida have health coverage through Medicaid, many of whom are also battling serious medical conditions," Nelson said. "These kids and their families shouldn't have to jump through hoops to get the treatment they need. This bill will help to streamline their medical care, lessening the burden for them and their families."

"When children have specialized health needs, they need specialized care - often times that means crossing state lines, which can be confusing for patients," Brown said. "Many of these children are battling serious illness -- they shouldn't have to jump through hoops to get the care they need. By allowing willing providers to help provide the care coordination for their own patients, we can ensure children receive the highest quality of care regardless of where they live."

"The ACE Kids Act is a commonsense solution to provide better care for children facing complex medical conditions," Gardner said. "This legislation is an example of how we can work together to improve the delivery of quality, timely care to our country's most vulnerable patients, and I'm proud to support it."

S. 428, the Advancing Care for Exceptional (ACE) Kids Act, would make it possible for health care providers to coordinate care, lower costs, and improve quality outcomes for children with complex medical conditions on Medicaid who require specialized care.

About two-thirds of the three million children with complex medical conditions are covered by Medicaid, representing nearly 40 percent of Medicaid costs for children. These children have illnesses and conditions including cancer, congenital heart disease, cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, and chronic health challenges from premature birth, which often require them to travel to another state to find treatment.

This bill would help hospitals coordinate and standardize care across state lines, ensuring our nation's most vulnerable children receive seamless treatment. It would also ease the burden of government bureaucracy on families, establishing case managers to help them navigate the complicated, and often expensive, healthcare system.

Experts from the fields of pediatrics and family advocacy groups participated in drafting this important legislation with children in mind. When enacted, the ACE Kids Act will give children with complex medical conditions the opportunity to lead fuller, healthier lives.

The bill will be referred to the Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicaid.