Kiggans Introduces Bill to Increase Healthcare Access for Military Families

May 02, 2024
Healthcare
Press

WASHINGTON, DC: Today, Congresswoman Kiggans (VA-02) announced the introduction of her legislation, the Care for Military Kids Act. This bipartisan bill, which Congresswoman Kiggans introduced with Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), aims to ensure servicemembers can maintain critical healthcare coverage and medical services for their children no matter where their service takes them. 

Specifically, the Care for Military Kids Act would amend the Social Security Act to ensure that any dependent of an active duty servicemember currently receiving long-term care services through a state administered Medicaid plan will remain eligible for those services should their family be stationed in another state. The legislation is endorsed by the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters (CHKD), the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), and The Arc of the United States.

“As a Navy spouse and as someone who served for nearly 10 years myself, I know how hard relocations can be for military families,” said Congresswoman Kiggans. “It is imperative servicemembers be able to maintain healthcare coverage for their children when they are relocated. I am proud to introduce the Care for Military Kids Act to ensure military children have access to the consistent healthcare coverage and medical care they need to lead healthy and happy lives. Our men and women in uniform already sacrifice so much for our country…their children should never have to forgo critical care because of their selfless decision to serve.”

Medicaid is operated by states, meaning that portability of benefits related to home and community-based healthcare services is not guaranteed from one state to another. This puts individuals and their families at risk of a loss of services when they leave their state, which particularly impacts dependents of military servicemembers who frequently transfer locations as part of the family’s commitment to serving their country. A new report from the Children’s Hospital Association underscores Medicaid’s significance in enabling healthcare access for nearly three million children in military-connected families.

“Our servicemembers sacrifice so much for our nation, frequently relocating due to their assignments. I am honored to introduce this crucial legislation alongside Congresswoman Kiggans, which seeks to establish a streamlined Medicaid plan for these heroes and their families, regardless of where their service takes them,” said Congresswoman Kaptur, senior member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. “Through this bipartisan effort we can work across the aisle to address the needs of our military community. By providing clarity and consistency in residency determinations we can ensure that our brave men and women in uniform and their children receive the support and care they deserve.”

“CHKD commends Congresswoman Kiggans for introducing the bipartisan legislation, The Care for Military Kids Act, alongside Rep. Marcy Kaptur,” said Bryant J. Thomas, Vice President of Advancement at CHKD. “This crucial bill will ensure active-duty dependents with disabilities covered by Medicaid can access vital long-term services across state lines. Our military families deserve seamless access to healthcare services, especially for dependents with long-term health needs. Community-based and home care is essential for children facing chronic health challenges. CHKD supports this legislation to enhance care for our nation’s military families.”

“The ability of individuals with disabilities to move across state lines for better opportunities for them and their families remains a serious challenge because of the lack of portability of Medicaid benefits,” said David Goldfarb, Director of Long-Term Supports and Services Policy with the Arc of the United States. “This is particularly true for members of our Armed Forces with disabled dependents. It is unconscionable that a child of a servicemember with disabilities could go without needed supports due a parent’s commitment to our country’s safety and security. We thank Representative Kiggans and Kaptur for introducing a much-needed fix to this issue.”

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