Dear Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders and Representative Welch,
Public discussions about Medicaid dollars tend to focus on their value in helping vulnerable Americans access necessary health care. However, Medicaid dollars pay for essential education supports and services, particularly in our highest poverty and most rural communities.
Medicaid is a critical component of our education system of care. Our schools no longer just teach “the 3Rs.” In communities across the state, in the face of rising child poverty and an opiate scourge, our schools are compelled by human decency and economic imperative to provide our youngest and most vulnerable citizens the basic safety and support and food they need to be resilient in the face of trauma, to grow up strong, and to develop the academic and social skills to become productive, economically-independent citizens in our communities. Medicaid dollars pay for the critical interventions our children need, particularly in our most disadvantaged and our most rural communities.
In Vermont, Medicaid provides significant direct financial resources (≈$13M in FY16) to our school systems and our most vulnerable youth to support critical services that they could not otherwise afford.