The voice of children’s hospitals was strengthened at the federal level in 2017, as leaders converged frequently in Washington, D.C. and in home districts to advocate for:
- A strong Medicaid program ensuring children’s access to the benefits and care they need
- Solutions in Medicaid to improve children’s health, health outcomes and the cost of care
- Long-term funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
- Continued funding for the training of pediatricians and pediatric specialists
Notable progress and achievement for children’s hospitals and child health include:
- Medicaid: Children’s hospitals joined numerous other organizations to oppose legislative proposals in the House and Senate that would severely cut Medicaid funding for children. Ultimately, funding for Medicaid was protected, allowing children’s hospitals to focus on advancing solutions to improve Medicaid for children like the Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act (ACE Kids).
- CHIP: Children’s hospitals stood with other children’s health groups, activated grassroots, earned media attention and worked directly with lawmakers to advocate long-term funding for CHIP. While Congress delayed renewal of the program into early 2018, over 100 days after its funding expired, these efforts ultimately resulted in a full decade of CHIP funding.
- Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME): Fully funded in FY 2017 at $300 million, CHGME is poised to be once again fully funded in FY 2018. Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees continue to show support for the program.
Public awareness about children's health care was raised in many ways, amplifying the voice for the nation’s children’s hospitals and our collective advocacy efforts:
- Family Advocacy Day (FAD): The annual Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day (FAD) focused on safeguarding Medicaid, with 47 children and their families making over 180 congressional visits as Congress considered a bill to cut children’s Medicaid funding. FAD generated stories in print, online and broadcast media that reached an audience of 400 million consumers across the U.S.
- Speak Now for Kids: As Congress considered proposals to cut funding for Medicaid and allowed CHIP funding to expire, more than 76,000 individual legislative actions were taken by Speak Now for Kids’ advocates in 2017.
- Through the support of CHA and the Lucille Packard Foundation, “The New Importance of Children in America” report powerfully made the case for increased investment in children’s health and was made visible to policy makers through Health Affairs coverage.
- Leadership from children’s hospitals and CHA published nearly 50 opinion pieces in national and local press highlighting the importance of Medicaid and CHIP for kids.