Children’s hospitals reject the American Health Care Act for failing children
Washington, D.C. — On behalf of our nation’s children’s hospitals and the patients and families they serve, Children’s Hospital Association urges the House of Representatives to reject the American Health Care Act (AHCA). While lawmakers have altered the bill since its introduction, it continues to fail over 30 million kids, including over a million disabled children, who receive their health coverage through Medicaid.
The legislation the House is scheduled to consider is a national threat to children’s health care, cutting funding, coverage and benefits for kids, many of whom have significant health care needs. The most damaging provision in the bill is a newly added block grant option for states that would eliminate Medicaid’s core benefit for children, EPSDT (Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment), which ensures children receive immunizations, mental health assessments and vision, eye and hearing exams as well as other medical services they might need. A block grant would also eliminate cost-sharing protections for children, essentially creating new barriers to care for low-income, working families.
The bill would cut state health care budgets by more than $880 billion over 10 years by giving states the option of converting Medicaid to a block grant or per capita cap system. Children, who represent over 40 percent of all enrollees yet account for just 20 percent of Medicaid costs, could see their health care cut by tens of billions of dollars over that period. Limiting future funding for states will only erode children’s coverage, benefits and access to care in Medicaid.
Congress should be looking after the health of America’s children. Medicaid should be maintained as an entitlement and children should receive their core benefits. Medicaid and improved child health have been proven to carry lifelong benefits into adulthood, and providing Medicaid coverage for children is a smart investment for the nation.
Children’s hospitals cannot support any bill that does not safeguard Medicaid funding, coverage and benefits for children. We ask Congress to reject this bill and advance a better future for our nation’s children.