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How Will Federal Health Care Reform Impact Local Children?

Op/Ed By Brigit Hurley, Policy and Advocacy Director, The Children’s Agenda –


staff_Brigit-Hurley_headshotHow will federal health care reform impact local children? The news is not good, even here in New York where more than 90% of us have health insurance coverage.

Here’s what the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) had to say after reviewing the latest Senate proposal:

“The bill fails all children by leaving more families uninsured, or without insurance they can afford or that meets their basic needs. This bill fails children living in or near poverty, children in foster care and children with complex health care needs whose parents have private insurance – all of these children depend on Medicaid and, if this bill passes, Medicaid will no longer be there for them.”

Pediatricians around the country are sending video messages to lawmakers, expressing concern about the bill via the AAP’s #KeepKidsCovered campaign.

New York Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer have been vocal in their opposition to any cuts to health care for children or people living in poverty, and we should ask them to stay strong in their stance.

The proposals being discussed would change the fundamental nature of health care in our country:

  • Three-quarters of all poor children depend on Medicaid. A full 50 percent of Medicaid and Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollees are children, leaving them especially vulnerable to the bill’s provisions that reduce Medicaid funding by one-third over the next 20 years. The bill’s proposed per capita cap on Medicaid would force cuts to children’s health care, special education services, support for children with disabilities, and other vital services.
  • At last count, slightly more than 10 million Americans had health plans purchased through Obamacare exchanges. More than eight in 10 used federal subsidies to make the plans affordable – subsidies that are threatened by Congressional reform proposals.
  • The Congressional Budget Office suggests that under the Senate bill, Medicaid enrollment would fall by more than 15 million people by 2026. Federal funding for Medicaid expansion (made possible by Obamacare) phases out between 2021 and 2023. Further reductions would start in 2025.

Preventing children and families from accessing health care doesn’t make sense morally, or economically. Healthy kids are much more likely to grow up to become self-sufficient adults who contribute to the community.

Anyone who cares about Rochester’s children and youth should be engaged in this national debate. The stakes are high and our kids are depending on us to stand up for them.

Click here to send a message asking your U.S. Senators to stand strong for kids by opposing the latest health care reform proposal.

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