Press Releases

Trahan, Miller-Meeks, Grassley, Bennet Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Expand Health Care Access For Children

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Lori Trahan (D-MA-03) and Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA-01), members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee, partnered with Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) to introduce the bipartisan Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act to help children with complex medical conditions access critical care. The legislation aims to break down barriers to care for these children while maintaining necessary safeguards and reducing regulatory burdens on providers.

“Children deserve access to the care they need regardless of the zip code they live in. That’s especially true for the unbelievably resilient kids and families battling childhood cancer and other rare diseases,” said Congresswoman Trahan. “The Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act will finally ease the burden on these families so kids get the care they deserve without delay.”

“The Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act is crucial for children battling rare and complex diseases,” said Congresswoman Miller-Meeks. “This legislation gives children with rare and complex diseases access to health care institutions and research facilities that are in many cases out of state. It also lessens the bureaucracy and significant wait times that bottleneck patient care and risk worsening a child’s health condition.”

“Families seeking life-saving care for their children should be able to access it quickly and wherever it’s available. Families shouldn’t have to trip over red tape to reach the most effective specialist, treatment or procedure, whether around the corner or across state lines,” said Senator Grassley. “Our bill makes it easier for kids to get the medical attention they need without imposing extra costs on families.” 

“For children with complex medical conditions and their families, bureaucratic red tape should not be another obstacle to access care. This bipartisan legislation will make it easier for low-income families to navigate our health care system and relieve some of the stress that caregivers face,” said Senator Bennet. “I’ll keep working with my colleagues to pass this bill and help kids get the health care they need.”

Children with complex medical needs may not have the specialized care they need within their home state. In these instances, parents must work with health care providers and state Medicaid officials to find out-of-state care. The process is difficult and full of red tape, often delaying children and their families from receiving the care they desperately need – and in some cases blocking access to care all together.

In order to reduce barriers to out-of-state care, the Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act allows states to streamline the process for out-of-state pediatric care providers to enroll in another state’s Medicaid program, while also safeguarding important program integrity processes. The legislation enables smooth coordination across state lines by clarifying the process by which state Medicaid programs can cover this care regardless of where the child lives and where their care is received.

“This legislation will be a lifeline for families across the country facing childhood cancer,” said E. Anders Kolb, MD, President and CEO of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. “By streamlining the Medicaid provider screening and enrollment process, we'll spare families the anguish of needless treatment delays at a time when every day counts. We thank Representatives Trahan and Miller-Meeks for introducing this bill and urge Congress to pass it quickly. Kids can’t wait.”

“It is vital that all children and adolescents can receive the health care they need, when they need it. For those with complex medical conditions, any delays in access to the specialized care they need can be detrimental to their health. As stated in its name, the Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act would help ensure that children enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program can receive timely health care without facing unnecessary barriers simply based on where they live. Pediatricians call on Congress to swiftly advance this bipartisan legislation, and we thank Representatives Lori Trahan (D-Mass.) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) and Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) for their leadership on the issue,” said American Academy of Pediatrics President Sandy Chung, MD, FAAP.

“While more than 25 million Americans are estimated to be living with a rare disease, unfortunately, there are often only a few specialists in the entire country with expertise in any single rare disease, which necessitates patients traveling significant distances, often out of their home state, to get the care they need for their complex conditions,” said Organization for Rare Disorders’ President and CEO, Peter L. Saltonstall. “The Accelerating Kids Access to Care Act will help remove a significant barrier to many rare disease patients getting timely access to necessary out of state care and NORD is grateful to Representative Miller-Meeks and Representative Trahan for their championing this critical legislation for the rare disease community.”

The bill text is available HERE. A full list of the 215 organizations supporting the Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act is available HERE.