Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12

Betsy DeVos. Donald Trump. The Every Student Succeeds Act. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states.

Education

Medicare Bill Would Also Fund Important Home Visiting Program

By Lauren Camera — March 24, 2015 2 min read

Written by Christina Samuels. This story first appeared on Early Years.

The House and Senate are ever-so-close to passing a bill that would bring to an end more than 20 years of a broken payment system for doctors under Medicare, as well as provide an additional $800 million for the Maternal, Infant, and Early-Childhood Home Visiting Program, known as MIECHV.

The home-visiting money would be for fiscal years 2016 and 2017; $400 million for funding in this fiscal year, 2015, has already been allocated.

Now all the bill has to do is pass. But political observers say that the measure, hammered out between House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and minority leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., offers a rare bit of common ground between lawmakers. If it fails, Medicare payments to doctors would face deep cuts after March 31.

This legislation would also be a permanent fix to the issue of doctor payments, instead of a perpetual irritant for lawmakers. Seventeen times over the past 12 years, Congress has passed a series of short-term measures to keep doctors’ payments intact instead of addressing the problem at its root.

And that’s where home visiting comes in, though it is unrelated to doctor payments under Medicare.

MIECHV gives federal dollars to states, which use that money along with state funds to pay for nurses and trained workers to make home visits to families who face economic and social struggles. The program was funded at $1.5 billion from 2009 to 2014. In 2014, with home-visiting money set to expire, legislators added funding to that year’s Medicare doctor-payment patch.

That’s why language related to home visiting has come to be associated with this particular Medicare bill, and why advocates have been watching this legislation closely. Karen Howard, the vice president for early-childhood policy for the Washington-based advocacy group First Focus, said her organization was happy with the prospect of additional funding.

“Our expectations from Congress have been tamped down over the past few months,” Howard said. A longer funding stream would be wonderful, but “we’re never going to look a gift horse in the mouth,” she added.

***

The Medicare bill, if it passes, would also extend for two years the Children’s Health Insurance Plan, or CHIP. When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, it extended money for CHIP only through Sept. 30, 2015. The idea was that the private programs would take over coverage for the children currently served by CHIP.

But if CHIP goes away, up to 1.9 million children could lose coverage, because of complicated formulas that the Affordable Care Act uses to calculate just what kind of coverage is “affordable.” (Family plans are often much more expensive than individual plans.) Democrats have sought a four-year extension of CHIP but, according to some news reports, have not come out and said a two-year extension is a deal-breaker.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Project Manager
United States
K12 Inc.
High School Permanent Substitute Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
MS STEM Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
Speech Therapist - Long Term Sub
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read