With the 113th Congress just reconvening, Representatives Gene Green (D-TX) and Jose Serrano (D-NY) have reintroduced former bills that would ensure Medicaid protections for children.
Representative Green introduced HR 172, ensuring continuous coverage under SCHIP and HR 173, ensuring continuous Medicaid coverage for children. Both bills require states to provide 12-month continuous coverage for children, even if the child and/or their family’s income changes during that time. Currently, states have the option to provide continuous eligibility for children. Twenty-three states provide 12-month continuous eligibility for Medicaid and twenty-eight provide continuous coverage for their CHIP programs. Ensuring ongoing coverage is particularly important for children in the foster care system who already face increased health risks and limited access to stable health care. Both bills have been referred the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where in previous years they have received little attention.
Representative Serrano has introduced HR 211, the Medicaid Newborn Coverage Act, which would waive the requirement for proof of citizenship during the first year of life for children born in the United States to a Medicaid-eligible mother. Although the 2009 Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act included several provisions to ensure automatic eligibility for newborns, gaps in coverage remain problematic for undocumented families. This bill has also been referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee.