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Congresswoman Karen Bass

Representing the 37th District of California

Rep. Bass Legislation To Ensure Former Foster Youth Can Keep Health Insurance Heads To Trump’s Desk

September 28, 2018
Press Release
WASHINGTON – Today, the House of Representatives sent a package of measures to address the opioid epidemic to the White House, which included legislation drafted by Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, to address a misinterpretation of the Affordable Care Act by providing foster youth with the same health insurance benefits as their peers.

“I’m sure the parents in Congress all would agree that health care for our children is not optional,” said Rep. Bass. “The congressional record is clear that Medicaid was supposed to cover all young adults who were in foster care at age 18, even if they move to a different state. But unfortunately, the language in the bill itself, wasn’t as clear. I hope the President signs this piece of legislation to clarify the original intent.”

The current health insurance system is one of the many challenges that disproportionately affect our nation’s foster youth. The intent of the Affordable Care Act was to make sure that foster youth who are in care by their 18th birthday and previously enrolled in Medicaid, would receive healthcare until the age of 26, much like their peers who can remain on their parents’ insurance plans until that age. However, after several years of requested clarification, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services misinterpreted the provision and restricted foster youth from receiving health insurance if they move out of their state. The signing of this bill would correct the misinterpretation.