Bennet, Grassley, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Increase Health Care Access For Children

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced the Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act to help families access life-saving care for children with complex medical conditions. The legislation aims to facilitate access to care while retaining program safeguards and reducing regulatory burdens on providers. 

“Red tape should never stop a family from finding the best care for their children, but unfortunately, far too many Americans find themselves in that unthinkable situation,” said Bennet. "This bipartisan legislation will not only help kids with complex medical conditions receive the treatment they need, but also relieve the stress and difficulties that many caregivers face when navigating our health care system. My colleagues and I will push Congress to pass this bill for our kids and families across the country.” 

“Children with complex medical needs and their families have so much on their plate. They don’t need the added uncertainty and stress of not being able to receive the care they need in a timely manner. This commonsense legislation will relieve some of that burden by making the process simpler and more efficient at no additional cost to families,” said Grassley.

"We treat children from nearly all 50 states every year at Children's Hospital Colorado. I'm grateful to Senators Grassley and Bennet for their leadership on this effort to allow institutions like ours to better serve children on Medicaid in a timely and efficient manner. We know that children with serious healthcare needs and their families already travel long distances to receive the care they need. We should be doing everything we can to expedite their access to care. This bill would also reduce the administrative burden on kids' specialty healthcare providers and allow states to streamline their Medicaid programs to provide better service at a lower cost,” said Jena Hausmann, CEO of Children’s Hospital Colorado.

"As a dad whose son has had multiple heart surgeries, we know firsthand the challenges of navigating insurance across state lines. We have even been airlifted to Children's Hospital Colorado from our home in New Mexico. We got the care we needed right away, but this bill would help ensure that no family has to wait while their healthcare provider sorts out enrollment paperwork. By making it easier for healthcare providers to stay current with state Medicaid programs across the country, this legislation would accelerate access to care for kids like my 'Baby Superman,'" said parent Antonio Vasquez Sr.

Children with complex medical needs cannot always receive the highly specialized care they need within their home state. When that happens, parents must work with health care providers and state Medicaid officials to find out-of-state providers able to provide necessary medical care. The process is difficult and full of red tape, delaying children and their families from receiving the care they desperately need, and in some cases not receiving access to care at all.

The Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act would provide states with the ability to use a streamlined screening and enrollment process for out-of-state pediatric care providers that need to enroll in another state’s Medicaid program, at the same time safeguarding important program integrity processes. This would help reduce the red tape and regulatory burdens that slow down or, in certain cases, prohibit children from receiving the care they need.

The Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act builds on Bennet and Grassley’s Advancing Care for Exceptional (ACE) Kids Act, legislation that passed Congress and was signed into law in April 2019. The ACE Kids Act makes 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. The Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act ensures that coordination can happen across state lines by clarifying the process by which state Medicaid programs can cover this care regardless of where the child lives and where their care is received. 

In addition to Bennet and Grassley, this legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio). Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by U.S. Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) and Katherine Clark (D-Mass.).

The bill text is available HERE. A full list of organizations supporting the Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act is available HERE.