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Support for LB 826: Requiring legislative consideration of Medicaid changes

Voices for Children’s testimony in support of LB 826:

January 25, 2011

To: Health and Human Services Committee

From: Aubrey Mancuso, Policy Coordinator

RE:  Support for LB 826, to require legislative consideration of Medicaid changes

Voices for Children supports LB 826 because we believe that it is critical that substantive changes to the Medicaid program receive the thorough and thoughtful consideration that this committee and the legislature can provide.

The current process for making changes to the Medicaid program doesn’t ensure that significant programmatic changes receive the careful consideration they deserve.  One of the reasons why this is critical is because of the relationship of Medicaid to other programs impacting children and families.

We know that what is best for most children is to remain in their own homes and communities.  Medicaid provides access to community based services, like behavioral health services, that help keep children with their families and help ensure that their families are able to get them the care that they need.  When these services become unavailable, families may be left with limited options that allow children to receive care while remaining in their own home and community.

These changes need legislative consideration, not only to allow for impacted families to have a voice on these issues, but also  to allow for the opportunity to consider how changes to Medicaid services might impact the overall health care delivery system as well as other programs and services.  We believe that the legislature is best suited to weigh the broad implications for limiting care to vulnerable children and families

As this committee is certainly aware, the majority of Medicaid recipients in the state, about 69%, are children.  Voices for Children supports LB 826 because of the role that Medicaid plays as a critical safety net program for low-income children and children with disabilities.  In order to ensure that this safety net continues to work effectively, substantive changes should not be made without a meaningful opportunity for public comment and thoughtful consideration of all potential consequences.

We urge you to advance LB 826.  Thank you.



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