ACA Repeal Vote Delayed Due to Lack of GOP Support; Kids’ Lives Hang in the Balance
(WASHINGTON, DC) – Earlier this afternoon, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced a delay in the vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) (H.R. 1648) when it became apparent the bill did not have sufficient votes to secure its passage tonight. As drafted, the AHCA would repeal the Affordable Care Act and fundamentally restructure the Medicaid program, jeopardizing coverage for millions of children and families. In response, First Focus Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley issued the following statement.
“Families across the United States are breathing a sigh of relief with the announcement of the delay in the vote on the AHCA. In the strongest possible terms, we urge Members of Congress to take a closer look at the legislation and use this time to understand the devastating impact the AHCA would have on children and families across the nation. Far from improving coverage and affordability of health care, this bill would cut $880 billion from Medicaid, which millions of our children, seniors, and disabled Americans rely on. The House bill ends the Medicaid entitlement, decimates coverage for children and other vulnerable populations and threatens access for all Americans to affordable and meaningful health benefits like maternity care, mental health treatment and medically necessary services for children with special needs.
“This bill is a direct attack on children, who make up nearly 50 percent of the Medicaid population. It is also an attack on states who get shortchanged in the AHCA deal. Cuts in the magnitude of $880 billion through provisions to establish Medicaid per capita caps or block grants shift significant costs to states, leaving governors with no choice but to ration care for our nation’s sickest and most vulnerable citizens by creating wait lists, cutting eligibility, benefits, services, and payments to providers.
“At a time when Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have helped to reduce the rate of uninsured children to the lowest number in American history -- with more than 95 percent of children having some form of health insurance -- now is not the time to gut the very programs responsible for this success.
“We applaud the families who continue to tell their stories to their Members of Congress about what is at stake for their children. As the House continues to hold off on a vote of this bill, we urge all Members of Congress to adopt a ‘do no harm’ approach and resolve to protect our nation’s most vulnerable children.”
The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are a priority in federal policy and budget decisions.