Letter to Congress on 2018 Budget Agreement

February 8, 2018

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader, United States Senate

The Honorable Chuck Schumer
Democratic Leader, United States Senate

The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Democratic Leader, U.S. House of Representatives

Speaker Ryan, Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, and Leader Pelosi:

On behalf of the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) and our 61 member plans serving more than 20 million Americans in Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP and the health insurance exchanges, I write to express our support for the ACCESS Act provisions of the bipartisan budget compromise announced yesterday. ACAP has advocated for years to improve the quality and stability of care for Americans in Medicaid, CHIP, and Medicare/Medicaid dual eligibles. We applaud this legislation, which addresses so many of these issues.

Specifically, ACAP strongly supports:

  • Section 50101. Funding extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which extends CHIP funding through FY2027 and the Express Lane Eligibility option and requires states to maintain eligibility levels for CHIP children through FY2027;
  • Section 50102. Extension of pediatric quality measures program, which extends funding for the Medicaid pediatric quality measures program and requires states to report on a core set of pediatric quality measures; and
  • Section 50311. Providing continued access to Medicare Advantage special needs plans for vulnerable populations, which would permanently authorize the dual eligible SNP program, require D-SNP contracts to have a unified grievances and appeals procedure in place, and require D-SNPs to integrate Medicare and Medicaid long-term services and supports and/or behavioral health services.

These provisions will dramatically improve the reporting and measurement of the quality of care for children in CHIP and Medicaid.  The legislation also provides long-term stability for children in CHIP and for the dual eligibles that rely on SNP plans for comprehensive benefits and care coordination.  In addition, ACAP applauds the extension of funding for community health centers and the National Health Service Corps and the delay in DSH cuts for safety net hospitals.  While no bill is perfect, this legislation provides important protections and long-term stability for America’s health care safety net and those that rely on Medicaid, CHIP and Medicare.

Again, thank you for your leadership and bipartisan work to improve these important health care programs.



Margaret A. Murray
Chief Executive Officer