House Committee’s Budget Plan Threatens the Health Coverage of Millions of Children
Washington – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee voted 30-22 to pass legislation that could negatively impact the health insurance coverage of millions of children. The legislation, required by the House budget resolution for federal fiscal year 2013, would cut $113 billion out of health insurance and public health programs across the country.
Among the cuts, the budget package would repeal the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid maintenance of effort (MOE) requirement, which protects coverage for low-income children and other vulnerable populations by requiring states to maintain their pre-ACA Medicaid eligibility rules through 2019. If this provision is repealed, an estimated 14 million children currently covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or Medicaid would be put at risk for losing coverage. The CBO analysis indicates that over 90 percent of the cuts from this provision would apply to CHIP, as states could cut or repeal their CHIP programs and children would either become uninsured or move into the health insurance exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The remaining 10 percent of the cuts would apply to Medicaid and might also largely fall on children.
The Committee’s reconciliation package would also repeal the ACA’s Prevention and Public Health Fund, defund grants to help states set up health exchanges, reduce payments to hospitals that serve a greater-than-average share of patients covered by Medicaid, cap Medicaid provider tax rates, and cut Medicaid funding to the territories. Additionally, the Committee voted to end the CHIPRA bonus payments that reward states for increasing children covered by Medicaid and streamlining enrollment. Overall, $22 billion would be cut directly from the Medicaid program.
In response to the Committee’s action, First Focus Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley issued the following statement:
“By every measure, Medicaid and CHIP work. Medicaid and CHIP allow 30 million kids to get the quality care they need to grow and thrive. Unfortunately, striking the MOE would put the future of CHIP in jeopardy with children either losing coverage entirely or, ironically, move into less comprehensive coverage in the health insurance exchanges that Republicans have fought against. Moreover, with $22 billion in proposed federal cuts to Medicaid, the coverage and access to care of millions of additional low-income children would be put at risk.
“With one-in-five children living in poverty, this isn’t the time to take children’s health care away. And making kids uninsured doesn’t mean they stop getting sick, so when their parents can’t pay at the ER, it’s small businesses and families with private insurance that will have to pay when providers shift those costs. The House should reject this shortsighted plan, so millions of kids can continue to get the care they need and we can continue the serious business of making health care work.”
Click here for a fact sheet detailing the cuts to children's health from First Focus, a national children's advocacy organization affiliated with the First Focus Campaign for Children.
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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. For more information, visit www.ffcampaignforchildren.org.