2020 Legislative Priorities
Our legislative priorities for the 2019 session include improving access to primary and specialty care for kids by increasing the Medicaid rate to parity with Medicare; increasing access to behavioral health care by increasing Medicaid reimbursement for behavioral health care to Medicare rates; maintaining funding for Washington’s Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens; extending Medicaid coverage for new moms from 60 days to one year; banning all flavors for nicotine and tobacco products; increasing the tax on vaping products commensurate with tax on cigarettes; and reapportioning tax revenue from e-cigarette sales to include prevention and enforcement of age restrictions on purchase.
We support many other legislative efforts related to child and family health and well-being. These items are not our top priorities but we are supporting partner organizations who lead on these efforts: Support Items January 2020
Our Early Childhood Committee works in tandem with our Legislative Committee to advance policies that focus on children’s first 5 years of life. Download our Early Childhood Policy Agenda
Refer to the issue briefs below for more information and talking points on our 2020 legislative priorities, or share them directly with your legislators.
Bring pediatric Medicaid reimbursement to parity with Medicare rates
In Washington 1 in every 2 children relies on Medicaid for health coverage, but the low rates paid by Medicaid for pediatric care make it increasingly difficult for families to access care in many Washington communities. Bringing pediatric Medicaid rates to parity with Medicare will improve access to care for Washington children and result in better disease prevention, earlier diagnosis and treatment, and fewer emergency room visits.
Download: Medicaid Rate Issue Brief
Improve access to appropriate behavioral health care for children
Behavioral health disorders affect up to 1 in 5 children in a given year, yet 80 percent of those children affected go without treatment. Early diagnosis and evidence-based treatment is critical to help ensure healthy development and prevent problems at home, at school and with peers throughout childhood and into adulthood.
Download: Behavioral Health Issue Brief
Read Dr. Emily Kemper’s guest opinion column in the Seattle Times
Ensure a healthy start for parents & babies: extend post-partum coverage
In Washington, Medicaid pays for pregnancy, delivery and 60 days post-partum care for pregnant individuals up to 198% of the federal poverty rate. An estimated 5000 people lose their Medicaid coverage after 60 days post-partum because they no longer qualify for coverage under current law. This leaves new moms at risk when they need access to care to recover from complications, receive timely identification and support for behavioral health problems, and form strong bonds with babies.
Download: Post-Partum Coverage Issue Brief
End the dangerous vaping epidemic
Teen vaping is an epidemic, with nearly 6 million users ages 11-21. We can reduce harm by increasing the tax on vaping liquids commensurate with the tax on cigarettes; banning all flavorings in e-cigarettes/vape products, including menthol; and re-apportioning tax revenue from e-cigarette sales to include prevention and enforcement of age restrictions on purchase.
Download: Vaping Issue Brief