Pages tagged "Federal Budget"
(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.
American Health Care Act would jeopardize care for children and families
Washington, DC—The American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Defense Fund, Children’s Dental Health Project, Family Voices, First Focus Campaign for Children, March of Dimes and National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners issue the following joint statement opposing the American Health Care Act’s (AHCA) drastic changes to Medicaid and their detrimental impact on children and families:
“Our organizations represent children, pregnant women, families, children’s health care providers, hospitals and advocates across the country, and we speak with one voice today to urge the U.S. House of Representatives to keep Medicaid strong for children and vote ‘no’ on the AHCA. This bill ends the Medicaid program as we know it, jeopardizing coverage for the 72 million vulnerable Americans – primarily children, pregnant women, seniors and people with disabilities – who rely on Medicaid for their health care.
“Children make up the single largest group of people who rely on Medicaid; nearly 36 million children receive Medicaid coverage, including children with special health care needs and those from low-income families. Medicaid also provides comprehensive prenatal care to pregnant women, allowing millions of pregnant women to have healthy pregnancies and helping millions of children get a healthy start. Unlike many private health insurance plans, Medicaid guarantees specific benefits designed especially for children. Medicaid’s Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) benefits are the definitive standard of pediatric care, covering an array of services like developmental, dental, vision and hearing screenings, and allowing health problems to be diagnosed and treated appropriately and as early as possible. Simply put: Medicaid works. In fact, children in Medicaid are more likely to get check-ups, miss less school, graduate and enter the workforce than their uninsured peers.
“Medicaid is able to provide affordable, comprehensive care for every child because of the strength of Medicaid’s state-federal partnership. The program already provides flexibility to states and allows each state to meet the needs of its Medicaid population when a natural disaster, public health crisis like the current opioid epidemic or economic recession increases the number of people enrolled and the cost of providing services.
“The AHCA includes harmful proposals to restructure Medicaid, and the changes to AHCA unveiled on Monday evening go from bad to worse, allowing even more damaging changes to the program. In addition to the bill’s initial proposal to fund Medicaid through per capita caps, the amendments would allow states to choose a block grant model, which would eviscerate existing protections afforded to children and pregnant women in the Medicaid program. Comprehensive EPSDT benefits would no longer be required for children, allowing states to ration limited dollars by drastically cutting back pediatric services.
“Block grants and per capita caps have a singular purpose, to reduce federal funding to states. In a bill that is supposed to be improving care for Americans, block grants and per capita shift costs from the federal government to the states, putting pressure on states to come up with the resources to cover their Medicaid patients when federal funds run out and costs inevitably rise. These drastic changes would place politicians, rather than health care providers, in charge of health care for children, pregnant women and families. Whether a life-saving childhood vaccination, a wheelchair or a hearing aid, politicians should not be the ones determining who gets what coverage, which providers offer those services, and what families must pay.
“The AHCA does not make coverage more affordable for families. In fact, it makes it harder for families to afford premiums in the individual market and phases out the option for states to expand Medicaid to cover more low-income adults, which has led to tremendous cost savings for states and better health outcomes for families across the country. Having healthy parents means children are healthier, too. Restructuring Medicaid financing, and opening the door to harsh work requirements for Medicaid enrollees, as the AHCA proposes, are not only bad for state budgets, they are harmful to child health.
“The AHCA’s provision allowing states to deny Medicaid coverage unless mothers and fathers are working is especially onerous. This provision would mean that a married, pregnant woman could be required to return to work 60 days after giving birth in order to keep her Medicaid coverage. Maintaining health coverage for mothers after birth is essential for infants’ healthy development. Among adults with Medicaid coverage, about 80% are in working families; this proposal is not only short-sighted and dangerous, it offers a solution to a problem that does not exist.
“In short, our organizations are united in opposition to any threat to Medicaid that would jeopardize the gains we’ve made in children’s coverage and dismantle a pillar program that millions of families rely on. More children are insured today than at any time in American history; the AHCA will reverse that progress. We urge Congress to oppose the AHCA and to instead pursue policies that prioritize children and keep Medicaid strong.”
Earlier today, many of our organizations joined a letter with more than 400 organizations dedicated to improving the well-being of children from all 50 states and the District of Columbia to urge Congress to keep the unique needs of children and their parents front and center as they consider any changes to the nation’s health care system.
About the American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.
About the Children’s Defense Fund
The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.
About the Children’s Dental Health Project
The Children’s Dental Health Project (CDHP) is an independent nonprofit that creates and advances innovative policy solutions so that no child suffers from tooth decay. Based in Washington, D.C., CDHP is driven by the vision of all children achieving optimal oral health in order to reach their full potential. We use data measurement and analysis to advance models that incentivize oral health, not just payment for treating the symptoms of dental disease. CDHP seeks to lead the way toward a health care system that is truly inclusive of oral health, from payment to care delivery. Learn more about CDHP at www.cdhp.org.
About Family Voices
Family Voices is a national, nonprofit, family-led organization promoting quality health care for all children and youth, particularly those with special health care needs. Working with family leaders and professional partners at the local, state, regional, and national levels since 1992, Family Voices has brought a respected family perspective to improving health care programs and policies and ensuring that health care systems include, listen to, and honor the voices of families.
About the First Focus Campaign for 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. Learn more at campaignforchildren.org and follow on Twitter at @Campaign4Kids.
About the March of Dimes
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs.
For the latest resources and health information, visit our websites marchofdimes.org and nacersano.org. To participate in our annual signature fundraising event, visit marchforbabies.org. If you have been affected by prematurity or birth defects, visit our shareyourstory.org community to find comfort and support. For detailed national, state and local perinatal statistics, visit persistats.org. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
About the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners:
The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) is the nation’s only professional association for pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) and their fellow pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who are dedicated to improving the quality of health care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Representing more than 8,500 healthcare practitioners with 19 special interest groups and 50 chapters, NAPNAP has been advocating for children’s health since 1973 and was the first NP society in the U.S. Our mission is to empower pediatric-focused PNPs and their interprofessional partners to enhance child and family health through leadership, advocacy, professional practice, education and research. NAPNAP.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 7, 2017
(Washington, D.C.) – In response to the release of the American Health Care Act by Republican leadership in the House of Representatives last evening, a bill that would repeal major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and impose a per capita cap on the Medicaid program, First Focus Campaign for Children (FFCC) releases the following statement by President Bruce Lesley:
The American Health Care Act would, as currently written, be a major step backwards for our nation’s children. The uninsured rate for children reached a record low of 4.8 percent in 2015 and has dropped by 68 percent since passage of the Children’s Health Insurance Program two decades ago. As a nation, we have made enormous progress in terms of ensuring our nation’s children have health insurance coverage. Now is not the time to reverse this progress; the American Health Care Act would seriously threaten the health and well-being of millions of children.
First and foremost, FFCC strongly opposes the provisions in the bill that impose a per capita cap upon the Medicaid program, which currently provides coverage to an estimated 35 million low-income children in this country. Per capita caps are nothing more than arbitrary limits imposed upon states by the federal government that, by definition, shortchange states for the costs associated with care for children with special health care needs, such as children with cancer, spina bifida, cystic fibrosis, asthma, and sickle cell anemia, or other higher-cost populations such as newborns and children in foster care. It is the care to these vulnerable groups of children that could be threatened and rationed by the federal imposition of a per capita cap on states.
In fact, since the entire purpose of a per capita cap is to cut federal support to Medicaid, states may be forced to either finance any shortfall themselves or implement various forms of rationing, such as making cuts in coverage, benefits, and payment rates to provides, shifting more costs to low-income families, or limiting access to care for children, pregnant women, adults, people with disabilities, and senior citizens. This could be an outright disaster for millions of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
Although the American Health Care Act retains the provision in the ACA that allows children to stay on their parents’ health care to age 26, which we support, it phases out parallel language that allows children in foster care to retain their Medicaid coverage to age 26 through presumptive eligibility. Children aging out of foster care are some of our nation’s most vulnerable young adults with health care needs associated with their childhood trauma that threaten their well-being. Now is not the time to impose greater administrative burdens and delays on their health coverage, while also underfinancing the care of all children in–and who have aged out of–foster care through the Medicaid per capita cap.
These provisions also violate a campaign promise by President Donald Trump to not cut the Medicaid program and to ensure that no one would lose health coverage under the bill.
As for the changes made by repealing the tax subsidies in the ACA and replacing them with a different set of tax credits in the individual market, FFCC is concerned that such changes may leave children with special health care needs particularly vulnerable. Unfortunately, the legislation currently does not include a much-needed score by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) along with an analysis of how the bill might impact existing coverage.
Congress should commit to “do no harm” to the health insurance coverage upon which our nation’s children rely. Since this bill threatens to do real harm to Medicaid coverage that an estimated 35 million count on for their care, we urge Congress to return to the drawing board, schedule congressional hearings to discuss and receiving input on health care reform proposals, allow Members of Congress and the public ample time to read and study the legislation, and wait until the CBO does its job in providing a score and analysis of how the bill would impact coverage rates and our nation’s health care system. Children deserve better than to have adults in Congress threaten their health coverage.
by Leslie Small
The changes to Medicaid funding recently proposed by Republicans could have serious consequences for vulnerable populations and state budgets alike, the leaders of five national advocacy organizations said on a press call Wednesday.
Howard Bedlin, the National Council on Aging’s vice president of public policy and advocacy, said he was “shocked” that such major changes to Medicaid were included at all in the GOP’s outline of policy proposals about how to replace the Affordable Care Act, given both are separate issues.
Regardless, the two Medicaid funding options floated by the GOP—block grants and per capita caps—“would lead to unprecedented cuts in Medicaid spending,” he said.
Thus, he and the other leaders on the call said they planned to urge governors attending the National Governor’s Association Winter Meeting to push Congress to reconsider the cuts.
On February 7, 2017, First Focus submitted a joint letter to the Senate and House of Representatives urging Congress to prioritize investments in children’s programs, in support of your reintroduction of S. 58/H.R. 173, the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2017. This legislation repeals the “Cadillac Tax,” which is a 40 percent excise tax on the cost of employer-sponsored health coverage that exceeds a certain and rather arbitrary premium benefits threshold of $10,800 for self-only coverage and $29,100 for family coverage in 2020.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FEBRUARY 8, 2017
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Amid sweeping changes by the incoming Trump Administration, First Focus Campaign for Children has issued its policy recommendations with a clear “do no harm” standard toward policies that impact America’s children during the first 100 days of the new presidency.
These child-focused recommendations come in light of President Donald Trump’s inauguration speech in which he acknowledged the universality of the rights of all children, saying: “And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams and they are infused with the breath of life by the same Almighty Creator.”
Top recommendations from First Focus policy experts include:
- Improving the health of children by funding the CHIP program, reducing asthma triggers, and protecting against lead poisoning;
- Applying a “do no harm” standard for any repeal-and-replace measures of the Affordable Care Act;
- Ending child poverty by strengthening family tax credits and setting a national Child Poverty Target;
- Ensuring immigration policies protect child safety and well-being by protecting DACA and providing increased support to unaccompanied minors;
- Reauthorizing the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childcare Home Visiting (MIECHV) program to ensure the best start in life for young children; and
- Focusing on child abuse and neglect response efforts to support children in foster care and end human trafficking.
In a statement First Focus Campaign for Children President and CEO Bruce Lesley said, “The recommendations we are putting forth are bold. We will not shy away from issues that impact every citizen – including the 16 million children that will be born in this country be born over the next four years. Those children deserve to be met with and be assured of a bright future.”
Read the entire list of child policy recommendations at CampaignForChildren.org.
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
First Focus Campaign for Children is a bipartisan nonprofit children’s advocacy organization that advocates directly to ensure that children and families are a priority in federal budget and policy decisions.
As such, the following are child- and family-focused policy recommendations that the President can follow to create a future that our children need and deserve.
Our recommendations are broken into seven broad categories:
- ensuring a safe and healthy future;
- supporting families with children;
- ending food insecurity and promoting child nutrition;
- providing children with an early, solid foundation;
- helping every student succeed,
- focusing child abuse and neglect response efforts on child well- being; and
- promoting child and family values.
Within each category is a list of goals, and actions the new Administration can take to reach those goals, all of which will improve the lives of our children.
To truly make America great, we must invest in our nation’s future – our children. First Focus Campaign for Children looks forward to working together towards creating a future that all children – and our nation – deserve.
Download the 100 Days Recommendations here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
In the early hours of Thursday morning, the U.S. Senate approved a budget resolution, the first step in the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Also this week, Senator Brown (D-OH) introduced an amendment to protect comprehensive, affordable coverage for children, and Senator Baldwin (D-WI) introduced an amendment to preserve health coverage for young adults until the age of 26, including former foster youth who age out of state care. Both failed to be adopted. The House is expected to take up the measure today.
First Focus Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley issued the following statement:
“We applaud the efforts of the bipartisan Members who voted this week to protect children’s coverage as the Senate moved legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. It is critical that Congress adopt a 'do no harm' policy towards our nation’s children and youth, especially at a time when the numbers of uninsured children have fallen to record lows. We urge Members of Congress to oppose any efforts that could dismantle programs like Medicaid and CHIP that are working well for children and take coverage away from youth transitioning into adulthood. The ACA repeal would be a major step backward for the health of America’s children.”
By Molly McCluskey
WASHINGTON — Candidate Donald Trump offered little insight into his prospective policies surrounding youth and families, and President-Elect Trump has not provided any more clarity. Many youth advocacy groups say their approach to the beginning of the new administration is a sort of cautious optimism.
Their top priorities for the first 100 days are strengthening tax credits for families, increasing access to affordable child care, making more housing more affordable, investing in mentoring and after-school programs, and ensuring that youth employment is included in plans to increase jobs nationwide.
First Focus Campaign for Children joined other child advocates submitted a letter to Congress calling for policymakers to keep the Affordable Care Act to ensure that any changes do no harm to children.
Thanks to Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the ACA, ninety-five percent of children in the United States have health coverage – an historic high. Children must not lose ground: any health reforms must build on achievements already made to further improve coverage for children.