Bush Administration cuts $700 million in Medicaid funds for schools
Adam Doster
Published: Saturday December 22, 2007

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President Bush drew criticism this fall for his refusal to fund a children’s health insurance program. On Friday, his healthcare slashing continued.

According to the Washington Post, “the Bush administration eliminated about $700 million a year in Medicaid reimbursements to schools, sidestepping an attempt by Congress to block such a move.”

Issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the new rule is projected to save the federal government $3.6 billion over five years, transferring those costs to school districts. Many school principals and superintendents said that the loss of the funding could force districts to cut other programs.

A wide variety of medical services, like speech and physical therapy, are provided to students in schools. Medicaid, the government's health insurance program for the poor, will continue to pay for those services for low-income children.

However, the law changes will pay schools for transporting students getting speech or physical therapy to school or back home. It will also limit when schools can bill the federal government for clerical work necessary with providing health care. For example, schools can no longer expect Medicaid reimbursement for planning student immunizations.

While hundreds of people who opposed to the change commented in writing to CMS on the proposal, CMS officials said that most of the comments validated their anxiety that schools were improperly using Medicaid funding to pay for services "that are clearly educational in nature."

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