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Herrera Beutler Introduces Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Increase Health Care Access for Children

Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) this week introduced the bipartisan 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.

Joining Herrera Beutler in introducing the bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House is Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.). Companion legislation was also introduced in the Senate by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

This legislation builds on Herrera Beutler’s bipartisan Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act that was signed into law in 2019.

“If a child needs access to specialized medical care, they shouldn’t be hindered by their zip code or income level. Congress should remove barriers that keep kids from obtaining the treatment they need which is why the Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act is so important. I’ve long supported helping kids on Medicaid cross state lines to receive critical care, and this bipartisan solution will help remove that hurdle, ease the burden on these families, and save more kids’ lives,” Herrera Beutler said.

“Kids with serious health conditions often can’t wait for care – and they shouldn’t have to. The Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act ensures that red tape and state lines don’t stand between children and life-saving medical care,” Clark said.

“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,” Grassley said.

“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. 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,” Bennet said.

“The last thing that families should have to worry about when seeking care for their kids is whether red tape will prohibit or deter an out-of-state provider from taking their Medicaid coverage, just because they’ve chosen to seek the best possible care regardless of location. In Ohio, we’re blessed to have world-class children’s hospitals that care for kids from across the country, but are oftentimes slowed down by these regulatory hurdles. We must do more to support families and kids, and I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to help streamline these processes and correct these mistakes,” Portman said.

“This bill puts the patient first. By getting rid of existing red tape that makes it harder for doctors and other providers to treat children who rely on the Medicaid program in another state, we can help to both streamline care for patients and mitigate administrative backlogs at hospitals. I’m proud to co-sponsor this commonsense legislation to optimize care and ensure Ohio’s children’s hospitals have the tools they need to best serve their patients,” Brown said.

"The Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act will help children who require highly specialized care that may only be available across state lines. Seattle Children's has the largest service delivery area in the US and this legislation provides options and support for the patients and families we serve. HR 3089 removes the current administrative barriers so families can focus on their child and access the care they need," Senior Vice President and Interim Chief Medical Officer of Seattle Children’s Hospital Dr. Jeff Ojemann said.

Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act bill specifics:

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.