Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act (AKACA) Gains Traction in Congress and Needs Your Help!

By CAC2 Member Matt Marks (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society)

State borders shouldn’t be barriers to treatment for children with cancer or other complex illnesses. Yet all too often, they cause challenges—or even treatment delays—for children and their families who rely on Medicaid or CHIP for their health insurance.

That’s why I encourage our community to champion the bipartisan Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act (AKACA).  This bill would reduce the paperwork required of doctors treating children from out-of-state, so that children can receive the care they need faster and with fewer delays.

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee unanimously passed the bill—a key step towards the bill becoming law. This progress represents a major step forward in the legislative process, as it now will be considered by the full House Energy and Commerce Committee in early June.

We couldn’t have made it this far without advocates who are raising their voices on behalf of kids.

Now it’s time to take action!

As Congress considers this legislation, the best way to ensure AKACA becomes law is to share how the burden of these delays is affecting patients and families. Patient stories make policies personal for lawmakers—and can help push this bill over the finish line.  They can be anonymous, but Congress must understand why every minute counts for children with cancer.

More about AKACA

When kids with cancer need specialized care, they often must travel outside their home state to find it. This is challenging for approximately half children in the U.S. who have insurance through Medicaid or CHIP. For them, approval for out-of-state care often requires substantial coordination between the health agency in the patient’s state and the out-of-state provider and can take months. This regulatory burden can cause dangerous delays in care when pediatric patients don’t have time to waste. Delayed care can lead to worse outcomes and in some cases death.

The Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act allows pediatric providers to enroll more efficiently in multiple state Medicaid programs so that they can provide essential, time-sensitive care to children who need it. Given the good news from the Health Subcommittee, we want to keep the momentum going to ensure this critical legislation passes.