Press Release

Contact: Meg Biallas Henry
Phone: 202-657-0664
Email: megb@firstfocus.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

240+ Organizations Support Preserving Medicaid Coverage for Former Foster Youth

Child Abuse & Neglect
Health

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Amid discussions to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, children and health advocates urged Congress to not forget that the law currently provides coverage for former foster youth. In a letter sent to Congress this week, more than 240 organizations expressed their support to ensure that youth who age out of foster care can keep Medicaid coverage until they turn 26, in parity with their peers who can stay on their parent’s health insurance until the age of 26.

Over 20,000 youth age out of care each year with very few supports or financial assistance. In addition, former foster youth represent some of the most vulnerable youth with high incidence rates of homelessness, incarceration, and chronic and mental health conditions.

The Medicaid to 26 provision of the ACA has allowed former foster youth continuity in their health coverage which improves the well-being and success of these youth as they transition into adulthood.

“Former foster youth are a particularly vulnerable group who have unique health needs. Congress must do no harm and threaten coverage for these young adults,” said Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus. “Many kids rely on support from their parents well into their 20s and former foster youth should be no different in having access to health coverage. We urge Congress to ensure Medicaid coverage for these youth continues as it considers changes to the Affordable Care Act and — now Medicaid as well.”

Advocates have enormous cause for concern as Republican proposals, including Paul Ryan’s A Better Way: Our Vision for a Confident America, promotes the option of per capita caps or the block granting of Medicaid. Both options would reduce the overall number of youth covered and leave former and current foster kids vulnerable to a loss of coverage, benefits, and access to care. In fact, under Ryan’s block grant option, the guarantee to coverage would appear to be eliminated. That would threaten the coverage of both former and current foster kids and youth.

Visit campaignforchildren.org to read the letter to Congress and learn you can take action on behalf of kids.

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The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are a priority in federal policy and budget decisions.

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