School leaders are voicing their frustrations with the Republican healthcare bill, saying it would limit their ability to help low-income and special education students, Politico is reporting.
School superintendents, many from red states important to Donald Trump's presidential win, are writing letters and making calls critical of potential Medicaid cuts in the bill, according to the website.
The website noted about $4 billion in Medicaid spending goes to fund school nurses, physical, occupation and speech therapists. It also pays for school-based screenings, and treatment for children from low-income family.
In a column for Time magazine, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers and Daniel Domenech, executive director of AASA, the school superintendents association noted:
"The healthcare bill being considered in the Senate would rip away these supports and jeopardize school staff's ability to make sure every child who steps into a classroom is ready to learn."
And they added: "We strongly oppose this flawed proposal to block-grant the Medicaid program; children cannot learn to their fullest potential with unmet health needs."
In Kentucky, the home state of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Fleming County School Superintendent Brian Creasman said he found it hard to believe the bill's potential cuts to school districts, Politico reported.
"I wonder what the senators think is going to happen?" Creasman said. "Do they think everything is just going to go away? It doesn't. … What happens is we either have to cut something or increase taxes."
Joseph J. Roy, a superintendent in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, said a reduction in the annual $600,000 his district receives in Medicaid funds would hurt schools, according to Politico.
"It's a major impact on us, and it's kids who are most vulnerable," Roy told the website. "They have mental health issues or physical issues that require assistance, and they are the ones that receive services."
Brad Seamer, a high school principal in Salem, S.D. said: "I've always been supportive of expanding Medicaid, not reducing Medicaid. As an educator, I want all my students to have every resource possible."
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