Local Family Visits Capitol Hill to Urge Congress to Safeguard Medicaid for Kids Following Son’s Treatment and Recovery at Children’s Specialized Hospital

One local family is taking their story to Capitol Hill to urge Congress to protect children’s Medicaid funding as proposed in recently introduced federal bills, the American Health Care Act of 2017 and the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.

North Brunswick resident, Khalil Pereira, age 22, was in a car accident while driving home from college and suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. He was 18 years old at the time of the accident and in his first year of college. He spent weeks in intensive care and another six months at Children’s Specialized Hospital’s acute inpatient rehabilitation facility in New Brunswick, learning to walk, talk, eat, breathe on his own, and regain control of his body.  Khalil relied on Medicaid to cover cranioplasty surgery, neurosurgeon visits, outpatient therapies, transportation and other care vital to his recovery.

On July 13, Khalil and his family will meet with members of the New Jersey delegation, including Senator Bob Menendez and Congressional members Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Leonard Lance (NJ-7) and Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6), to share how Medicaid coverage benefitted his care and how the House and Senate health care bills could negatively affect their lives and the lives of other children receiving care at Children’s Specialized Hospital. The Pereira’s effort in Washington, D.C., is part of a broad national push to address key health care needs for children through the Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day, sponsored by the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA).

Of the nearly 1.8 million New Jerseyans enrolled in Medicaid, more than 800,000 are children who receive their health care through Medicaid and CHIP.  At Children’s Specialized Hospital, nearly 50 percent of the children who received care in 2016 were covered by Medicaid.  According to a recent report by Avalere Health, the U.S. House-passed American Health Care Act, on which the Senate bill was modeled, would cut Medicaid funding for children by at least $43 billion over 10 years by replacing the existing Medicaid payment system with a capped system that limits Medicaid funding to states.

“The families of the children we treat are facing major health care challenges and uncertainty about their child’s future. It is critical to protect Medicaid to allow these families to focus their full attention on their child’s care and recovery,” said Warren E. Moore, FACHE, president and CEO of Children’s Specialized Hospital. “Protecting Medicaid and reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program are top priorities for Children’s Specialized Hospital. Each year we see more and more children like Khalil who rely on Medicaid to access highly specialized care from multiple providers in different care settings.”

Children’s Specialized Hospital is the nation’s leading provider of inpatient and outpatient care for children from birth to 21 years of age facing special health challenges — from chronic illnesses and complex physical disabilities like brain and spinal cord injuries, to developmental and behavioral issues like autism and mental health. At thirteen different New Jersey locations, our pediatric specialists partner with families to make our many innovative therapies and medical treatments more personalized and effective…so children can achieve more of their goals.  To help, or find more information: call 888-CHILDRENS; visit www.childrens-specialized.org; Facebook: www.facebook.com/childrensspecialized; Twitter: www.twitter.com/childrensspecnjYouTube: www.youtube.com/cshnjLinkedIn:www.linkedin.com/company/children’s-specialized-hospital

For more information on Family Advocacy Day, visit www.childrenshospitals.org or follow the families on Facebook, www.facebook.com/speaknowforkids, and Twitter, @speaknowforkids.