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Washington D.C. - Yesterday, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) unveiled his two landmark pieces of legislation that will help young children get the social, emotional, and cognitive development and learning they need to succeed. The two bills, The Starting Early, Starting Right Act (S. 1155), and The Prepare All Kids Act (S. 1156) were co-sponsored by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Children and Families, who promised a prompt hearing in the subcommittee and her full support in pushing these bills forward.
The bills were announced at a press conference co-sponsored by Senators Casey and Mikulski, along with actor Jennifer Garner, Ambassador for Save the Children, and Mark Shriver, Senior Vice President of U.S. Programs at Save the Children.
Bruce Lesley, President of the bipartisan child advocacy organization, First Focus, released the following statement:
“With the Starting Early, Starting Right Act and the Prepare All Kids Act, we have a roadmap that covers the entire spectrum of early childhood. These two bills provide common sense evidence-based approaches to ensuring that children from birth through kindergarten get everything they need – and the development of social, emotional, and cognitive skills – so that they will enter school ready to learn and ready to succeed.
“It is irrefutable that high quality early childhood learning and education is key to later success in life, particularly for disadvantaged children, many of whom start school behind and never catch up. The Starting Early, Starting Right Act focus on high quality child care and ensuring that every child has access to an environment that includes appropriate developmental learning and high quality teachers. It is inexcusable that here in the United States, only 1 in 7 eligible children has access to the kind of early care every child needs.
“With the Prepare All Kids Act, Senator Casey has again provided a roadmap for ensuring that in the critical pre-kindergarten years, children have access to high quality developmentally appropriate learning that will give them skills that last a lifetime. The Prepare All Kids Act also lays out a format for ensuring that all key players in early childhood – including parents, community leaders, child care providers, Head Start teachers and administrators, school district personnel, and all those involved in early learning – can coordinate and streamline services for children so that no child falls through the cracks.
“As Congress continues to debate the nation’s budget and deficit challenges, we urge Members to consider the critical importance of continued investments in our children to ensure we do not pay more later for remedial services in education, child welfare and juvenile justice. We also urge the Congress to be mindful of the critical role that early childhood investments play in keeping our global economy strong and our country safe.”
Washington D.C. - Today, the First Focus Campaign for Children urged Members of Congress to reject the State Flexibility Act (H.R. 1683/S. 868), legislation that will put at risk the health coverage of an estimated 14 million children and fundamentally reverse the enormous progress our nation has made in reducing the number of uninsured children.
The State Flexibility Act would repeal a provision of the health reform law that requires states to maintain current eligibility and enrollment requirements for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Without this so-called “Maintenance of Effort” (MOE) provision, scores of children currently covered by either Medicaid or CHIP would be dropped from coverage.
In a letter delivered today to Members of Congress from the First Focus Campaign for Children, the group stated: “While proponents of the State Flexibility Act claim that the legislation is necessary to help states better operate their Medicaid programs, the fact of the matter is that there is nothing in the bill that gives states any new authority to achieve this goal. The only new authority permitted in the legislation allows states to cut low-income children, people with disabilities, and senior citizens off of coverage.”
A recent report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the bill would significantly increase the number of uninsured individuals, especially children. In fact, under the State Flexibility Act, two out of every three individuals at risk of losing health care coverage are children. Over the long-term, the bill will have an increasingly severe impact on CHIP, resulting in half of states entirely eliminating their CHIP programs by 2016, and the remaining states scaling back their coverage for children. CBO estimates that by 2016, 1.7 million children will have been dropped from CHIP coverage, leaving some children uninsured completely and enrolling others in the new state exchanges created as part of the health reform law.
The American public strongly oppose such an outcome. In fact, according to a recent poll, by a two-to-one margin, voters oppose providing states more flexibility if it means eliminating coverage for some children.
“As families struggle to recover from the economic downturn, it is seriously misguided for Congress to consider any proposal that would dismantle the Children’s Health Insurance Program, said Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan advocacy group. “Since its inception in 1997, CHIP has proven to be a cost-effective program that provides remarkable results, reducing the number of uninsured children by almost a third – even as uninsured rates for adults increased steadily. Today more than seven million low-income children depend on the program’s comprehensive benefits that specifically address their unique health care needs while limiting families’ out-of-pocket costs.”
Outlined in the letter are two principles the First Focus Campaign for Children urges Congress to follow in order to maintain our nation’s record of success for children’s health coverage:
1. Congress should not reverse past progress and enact new policies that would make children worse off in terms of their health coverage.
2. Congress must ensure that our health system continues to support care for children that meets their unique health and developmental needs, including the availability of pediatric networks of care delivery.
As stated in the letter, “Unfortunately, H.R. 1638 violates both principles… Therefore we urge the Congress to reject the State Flexibility Act and instead find other ways to achieve fiscal relief for states. Rather than creating a pathway that increases the number of uninsured children in this nation, Congress must focus on solutions that help achieve savings for states while also improving access, quality and care delivery in Medicaid and CHIP.”
Lesley added, “Balancing budgets on the backs of children doesn’t add up to a positive future for the next generation or our country. Instead of placing children directly in harm’s way, we urge Members of Congress to reject the State Flexibility Act and instead work with their colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that the important gains won for children’s coverage are protected even during these tough economic times.”
Washington D.C. – Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT) introduced the Secondary School Reentry Act. The bill will amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to increase the role of State and local educational agencies in implementing secondary school reentry programs that focus on reengaging young people who are disconnected from both the education system and the workforce.
“We commend Senator Sanders for demonstrating his support of youth by introducing the Secondary School Reentry Act,” said Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan advocacy organization. “This legislation will create an avenue to meet the diverse needs of disconnected youth with a comprehensive set of supports and interventions to reduce barriers to school re-entry, learning & skill development, and the ultimate goal of diploma completion and college-career readiness. By amending ESEA to provide a focus on this population, Senator Sanders is encouraging States and school districts to implement a plan to identify and reengage disconnected youth with the ultimate goal of seeing them attain a secondary school diploma with greater opportunities for academic and financial success.”
Disconnected youth encompass a broad population that may include high school dropouts, teenage parents, homeless and runaway youth, youth in the juvenile justice system, or youth who have aged out of the foster care system. Research indicates that African American males constitute a disproportionate share of the population and that the risk of disconnection is particularly high with students experiencing emotional disturbances and learning disabilities.
According to the legislation, research shows that nearly 38 percent of young female dropouts, ages 16-24, are mothers. More than half of all high school dropouts are students of color, and low-income students are ten times more likely to drop out than other students.
“An extremely limited amount of federal education dollars is targeted toward programs that reach out and support dropouts who want another opportunity to reengage in the education system, receive their high school diploma, and create a pathway to a better, more promising future,” said Senator Bernard Sanders. “That is why I introduced the Secondary School Reentry Act which supports an increased role by state and local educational agencies in providing secondary school reentry programs in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Act.”
Lesley added, “We applaud Senator Sanders for introducing this critical piece of legislation. With researchers estimating the number of disconnected youth ranging from 2.3 million to 5.2 million, the Secondary School Reentry Act will offer educational assistance to youth transitioning into adulthood by providing college and career ready services that open a pathway to higher education. We look forward to working with Congress, national and state partners, and youth leaders to pass this important legislation.”
Washington D.C. - Today, the First Focus Campaign for Children expressed strong opposition to the legislation approved by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee that will significantly increase the number of children without health insurance. The State Flexibility Act (H.R. 1683) would repeal a provision of the health reform law that requires states to maintain current eligibility and enrollment requirements for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Without this so-called “Maintenance of Effort” (MOE) provision, an estimated 14 million children currently covered by either Medicaid or CHIP could be dropped from coverage.
While the legislation seeks to secure some short-term federal savings by allowing states to eliminate or reduce Medicaid and CHIP coverage, a report released Wednesday by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the bill would significantly increase in the number of uninsured individuals, especially children. In fact, under the State Flexibility Act, two out of every three individuals at risk of losing health care coverage are children.
Over the long-term, the bill will have an increasingly severe impact on CHIP, resulting in half of states entirely eliminating their CHIP programs by 2016, and the remaining states scaling back their coverage for children. CBO estimates that by 2016, 1.7 million children will have been dropped from CHIP coverage, leaving some children uninsured completely and enrolling others in the new state exchanges created as part of the health reform law.
Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan advocacy organization, issued the following statement:
“We strongly oppose the State Flexibility Act as it effectively ends the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as we know it. In fact, the bill dismantles years of progress ensuring health coverage for low-income children by dropping them from CHIP, leaving them uninsured, or moving them into the insurance exchanges. Children across the nation would be left with no coverage, or coverage that fails to come even close to matching the comprehensive benefits and affordable cost-sharing currently provided for children through CHIP.
“Since its inception in 1997, CHIP has shown to be a cost-effective program that provides remarkable results, reducing the number of uninsured children by almost a third – even as uninsured rates for adults increased steadily. Today the program provides coverage to more than seven million low-income children. Support for children’s health coverage among the public is overwhelming. A recent public opinion survey commissioned by First Focus found 73% of Americans oppose cutting CHIP. In addition, an analysis by Watson Wyatt Worldwide confirms that children currently enrolled in CHIP have stronger coverage than would otherwise be available. It provides comprehensive benefits to children that specifically address their unique health care needs while limiting families’ out-of-pocket costs. The evidence is clear that CHIP works for kids.
“As our nation’s economy and families struggle to recover from the recession, the proper role of government is to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens are not left worse off. CHIP and Medicaid have played a critical role in significantly reducing the child uninsured rate to less than 10 percent, over the past decade. Additionally, despite the devastating impact of the recession, which produced serious increases in child poverty and an increasing number of adults without health insurance, the uninsured rate for children remained flat, largely due to these successful programs.
“It shouldn’t take a budget or health care expert to recognize that balancing budgets on the backs of children doesn’t add up to a positive future for the next generation or our country. Instead of placing children directly in harm’s way, we urge our nation’s leaders to protect children from harm as they work to find solutions to our budget challenges.”
Washington D.C. – Today, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Harry Reid (D-WV), and Robert Menendes(D-NJ) along with Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. The bill would provide undocumented students who have grown up in the United States with the opportunity to earn permanent legal status by meeting certain requirements, including completing two years of college or military service.
Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children, issued the following statement:
“We are pleased to see Senators Durbin, Reid, and Menendez and Representatives Berman and Ros-Lehtinen demonstrating their steadfast support of children and youth by introducing the DREAM Act.. In doing so, they are heeding the advice of military, business, religious, and education leaders as well as listening to the majority of the American people who agree that this bill is the right thing to do for our children and our country. The young people who would benefit from the DREAM Act have grown up here, been educated in our schools, and deserve the opportunity to give back to the country they call home.
“Passage of the DREAM Act would mean that Eric Balderas, a Harvard biology major who came to the U.S. when he was just 4 years old, can pursue his dream of one day finding a cure for cancer. Passage of the DREAM Act would mean that Laura Lopez, a college graduate who was brought to the U.S. when she was just 1 year old, can achieve her dream of attending law school. Nobody benefits from denying incredibly smart young people like Eric Balderas or Laura Lopez a pathway to citizenship in the United States. They have much to offer our country and it is a waste of human talent and skill to deny these young people the ability to give back to the only country they know and love. Finally, passage of the DREAM Act would mean that hundreds of thousands of children enrolled in our elementary and secondary schools can one day realize their dreams of becoming the future doctors, teachers, and engineers our nation so greatly needs.
“We applaud Senators Durbin, Reid, and Menendez along with Representatives Berman and Ros-Lehtinen and the Administration for continuing to champion this critical piece of legislation. In his 2012 State of the Union Address, the President stated that it ‘makes no sense’ to deport children who had nothing to do with the actions of their parents. We are deeply concerned that so many young people continue to be arrested, jailed and sometimes deported, and we strongly urge the Administration to provide relief to these youth so that they no longer have to live in fear.
“We look forward to working with Congress, the Administration, national and state partners, and the young leaders of the DREAM movement to pass this important legislation. And until that day comes, we will also continue pushing for immediate solutions to protect these young people from further harm, and hold our nation’s leaders accountable for doing right by our children.”
Washington D.C. - Today, the First Focus Campaign for Children expressed deep concern about legislation introduced yesterday to eliminate state Medicaid requirements, which will put 14 million children at risk of losing access to coverage through Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Representative Phil Gingrey (R-GA) introduced bicameral legislation yesterday to repeal a provision of the health reform law that requires states to maintain current eligibility and enrollment requirements for Medicaid and CHIP. This so-called “Maintenance of Effort” ( MOE) provision ensures that children and other vulnerable populations currently eligible for and covered by Medicaid and CHIP cannot be dropped from coverage.
While there is broad support among the public and Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle for deficit reduction, the Hatch-Gingrey proposal secures federal savings by allowing states to eliminate or reduce Medicaid and CHIP coverage resulting in the loss of health care coverage for millions of children and other vulnerable individuals. In addition, instead of saving money, the bill instead shifts substantial and burdensome costs previously born by the federal government to states and localities.
Furthermore, a recent First Focus/Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll found that a majority of voters opposed allowing governors the flexibility to decided how Medicaid dollars are spent if it meant eliminating insurance coverage for some children.
Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan child advocacy organization, issued the following statement:
“The Hatch-Gingrey proposal to repeal the Maintenance of Effort provision would be a massive step in the wrong direction for America’s children. It is ironic that Senator Hatch frequently touts his leading role in enacting the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), yet if passed, the proposal he unveiled yesterday would likely eliminate CHIP in his home state of Utah and, as revealed in a report by the Georgetown Center for Children and Families, put over 14 million kids at risk of losing access to the care on which they depend. This legislation would stem the enormous progress made for children’s coverage over the last decade and undermine the goals of both health reform and CHIP, which are to reduce the ranks of uninsured in our country.
“As our nation’s economy and families struggle to recover, the proper role of our governments is to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens are not left worse off. CHIP and Medicaid have played a critical role in reducing the child uninsured rate, cutting it by more than half, to less than 10 percent, over the past decade. Additionally, despite the devastating impact of the recession, which produced serious increases in child poverty and an increasingly high number of adults without health insurance, the uninsured rate for children remained flat, largely due to these successful programs.
“State budgets may be pressed, but numerous studies show that the Affordable Care Act actually provides important opportunities for states to secure net savings, not costs, when it comes to Medicaid. A recent First Focus/Urban Institute report found that even in a worse-case scenario, savings for states would outweigh costs. The analysis shows that savings could range between $40.6 billion to as high as $131.6 billion during 2014-2019.
“In order to provide state governments fiscal relief, we urge our nation’s leaders to take a fresh look at ways to improve the federal-state partnership, including efforts to rein in federal cost-shifts to Medicaid programs. For example, states could secure significant savings by eliminating the so-called Medicaid prescription drug “clawback” under which states are paying costs associated with the federal Medicare prescription drug benefit. The clawback serves no purpose whatsoever other than to unilaterally force states to pay the federal government billions of dollars in order to fund an entirely federal program. Eliminating the clawback will advance the federal-state partnership, while providing states with fiscal relief and simultaneously improving care to vulnerable American
“It shouldn’t take a budget or health care expert to recognize that balancing budgets on the backs of children doesn’t add up to a positive future for the next generation or our country. Instead of placing children directly in harm’s way, we urge our nation’s leaders to protect children from harm as they work to find a solution to our budget challenges.”
Senator Rockefeller Joins Child Advocates in Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of a Critical Report on America’s Kids
Washington D.C. – Today, policymakers and child advocates are recognizing the impact of a critical report on the state of our nation’s children released 20 years ago this month. The final report of the National Commission on Youth, released on May 1, 1991, led to the enactment of the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and the creation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), among other important initiatives.
The National Commission on Children was formed in 1989 at the direction of Congress and the President to “serve as a forum on behalf of the children of the Nation.” The Commission was charged with the task of assessing the status of children and families in the United States and outlining promising new directions for policy and programs. Two years later, in the midst of a recession, the National Commission on Children approved their final report entitled, “Beyond Rhetoric: A New Agenda for America’s Children and Families,” which led to a number of critical policies for children. Furthermore, President Clinton used the Commission’s final report as a catalyst for his domestic agenda.
“Twenty years ago, our government lacked the ability and resources to evaluate the status of our nation’s families, preventing us from developing programs aimed at improving children’s wellbeing, from birth through adolescence. But this Commission changed that course for an entire generation of children. Serving as Chairman of the bipartisan National Commission on Children and forging consensus on the need to invest in children and families was one of the most meaningful experiences of my career,” said Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). “Without the Commission’s report, we would never have seen the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit and CHIP – two programs that are very near and dear to my heart and essential to making sure that all children have a chance at a healthy start in life.”
While enormous gains were made on behalf of children in the 1990s as a result of the enactment of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit and other recommendations set forth by the Commission on Children, progress stalled in the last decade precisely due to the lack of a comprehensive agenda around children. Today in America, more than one in five children is poor, 8 million children lack health insurance, and the overall share of federal, nondefense spending going to children's programs dropped by 12 percent over the past 5 years.
“The American people are deeply concerned about the plight of the next generation. By a nearly three-to-one margin (58-20%), the American public believes that the lives of children are worse off today compared to a decade ago,” said Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan child advocacy organization. “Americans do not want to see massive cuts to important programs for our nation's children. Instead, they want to see a national agenda focused on improving the lives of children and restoring the American Dream. As we continue debating how to recover from the economic downturn, it is an opportune time to recognize the work of the National Commission and the need for a new national action plan for improving child well-being.”
Last November, Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced legislation to once again establish a federal entity to catalyze the next generation of groundbreaking policies for children and families. As proposed in the Children’s Act of 2010, a National Council on Children would annually assess the performance of the United States in ensuring the well-being of children. In addition, the Council would develop a set of national goals to improve the lives of youth, and make recommendations to advance children’s well-being.
Lesley added, “We applaud Senator Rockefeller for his past and continued leadership and look forward to working with Senator Casey to ensure the reintroduction of the Children's Act in coming weeks. A coordinated, national plan to improve child well-being is essential to raise the visibility of children in federal policy, solidify our commitment to the nation’s future, and ensure that we can meet the needs of the next generation.”
WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Representative Danny Davis (D-IL) introduced legislation that would provide an annual accounting of all federal money spent on children.
The Children's Budget Act aims to make children a priority in the federal budget by requiring that the President's annual budget request includes a separate analysis of all spending on children's programs. This accounting would collect the diverse sources of funding for children's programs, in a unified place, communicating a clear picture of the federal funding benefiting America's young people.
"We commend Representative Davis for introducing this important legislation," said Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children. “Investing in programs that protect the health and well-being of children today will pay huge dividends down the road. Unfortunately, all too often spending proposals make children an afterthought in the federal budget rather than a focus. And as a result, children are becoming the beneficiaries of an ever narrowing slice of federal spending. The Children's Budget Act is a simple, inexpensive action that will bring awareness to the federal investment in children, as well as hold our nation's leaders accountable for ensuring that children remain a national priority."
“As policy makers, we have the ability and responsibility to provide a strong foundation for our youngest citizens to grow into the achievers and leaders of tomorrow,” said Representative Davis. “If children are a national priority, we need to measure our federal spending so that we can understand if our choices disproportionately harm or protect our children. The Children’s Budget Act would ensure that children are given due consideration whenever the budget is discussed and would provide policymakers, program administrators, and parents with a clear picture of the overall federal investment in our children. Careful analysis of our spending today helps us improve our efforts for tomorrow.”
Currently, the law that governs the requirements for the President's annual budget request includes dozens of specific instructions, such as a mandate that requires an analysis of all spending on homeland security. Requiring that an analysis of spending on children be submitted as part of the President's larger budget request would be a simple addition to the law.
For the past three years, First Focus has released an annual Children’s Budget book, a comprehensive analysis of federal spending on children over the past five years, and a publication with an intent similar to that of the Children's Budget Act. The latest edition of the book, Children’s Budget 2010, found that after accounting for federal spending on kids, less than one dime of every new, non-defense dollar spent by the federal government has gone to children and children’s programs.
Lesley added, "Children make up one-quarter of our population, but they are all of our future. Meeting their needs requires that we take stock in our efforts. Doing better for our children tomorrow starts with knowing how we're doing today."
• Click here to review a fact sheet about the Children’s Budget Act.
Washington D.C. – Today, the bipartisan child advocacy organization the First Focus Campaign for Children hails the introduction of the Strengthening State Systems of Early Learning Act by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). This bill would provide funding and resources to states for building and strengthening “systems” of early learning and development so that more children, and particularly poor and disadvantaged children, ages zero to five, can have access to high-quality early childhood learning and development programs.
The bill will help states increase the quality of their early childhood programs, improve workforce qualifications and development, and create a seamless system of care and learning that children and working families can rely upon. Funded at $350 million for fiscal year 2012, the bill is a well-developed policy framework of the Administration’s call for an early learning challenge fund to support these goals.
Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan child advocacy organization, issued the following statement:
“The Supporting State Systems of Early Learning Act is a major step forward for children from birth to age five and beyond. In recent years, several states have made important progress in building streamlined and seamless 'systems' of early learning and development. But it is not enough. As a nation, we need a more unified approach. This bill will provide states with the resources and funding they need to build and strengthen integrated and coordinated systems so that all children, and particularly poor and disadvantaged children, can access the developmental care, tools and learning they need to grow and thrive in the critical early years.
“For far too long, many states have overseen a variety of early childhood programs without a unified purpose or strategy to optimize outcomes for children. The Supporting State Systems of Early Learning does not create yet another new early childhood program, but on the contrary, helps states unify and integrate what are often fragmented and confusing early childhood funding streams and programs. If we truly want to serve the best interests of young children and ensure they are successful and ready to learn when they enter the K-12 system, this bill will help us achieve that goal.
“It is also a crucial and highly cost-effective investment in young children that will pay off in multiple ways, particularly with children’s later success and productivity in America’s 21st century workforce. The data is irrefutable – investing in high quality early childhood programs produces a return, conservatively, of 10-18 percent. This bill is a win-win for every child in America and our nation’s economy. The time for this kind of investment in our youngest children is now. We commend Senator Casey for this forward-thinking and visionary bill that will take early learning and development to the critical and necessary next stage.”
Joining Senator Casey as co-sponsors on the introduction of the Supporting State Systems of Early Learning were Senators Durbin, Murray, Franken and Coons. In addition to the First Focus Campaign for Children, the bill has been endorsed by leading children’s groups including: Center for Law and Social Policy, Children’s Defense Fund, First Five Years Fund, National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Women’s Law Center, Pre-K Now, and Save the Children.
United States House of Representatives Votes to Turn Back the Clock on Health Care for Kids
Washington D.C. - Today, the United States House of Representatives voted in favor of repealing The Affordable Care Act. The First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization, expressed disappointment in those Members of the House who voted to repeal the historic health reform law that moved America closer to universal coverage for children.
Bruce Lesley, president of the First Focus Campaign for Children, issued the following statement:
“The passage of The Affordable Care Act was a critical step forward in improving our nation’s broken health care system. We are deeply disappointed by the decisions of those Members who voted to turn back the clock on health care, especially for our nation’s children, by repealing this critical law.
“The repeal of health reform would be devastating for the millions of children and families who already are or soon will benefit from this historic legislation, which expands coverage to millions of children and their families and includes important insurance market reforms to eliminate pre-existing condition exclusions and lifetime benefits for children. It is indisputable that our nation’s children, especially low-income children and those with special health care needs are better off today because of the new law.
“The Affordable Care Act is a responsible and cost-effective investment in the health and health care of every American. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, health reform will not only reduce the budget deficit in the next ten years by more than $230 billion, it also will ensure that an estimated 32 million Americans who are uninsured or underinsured can get high quality, affordable health coverage they can rely on. A First Focus analysis revealed that health reform is also a win for state budgets, finding that states could reap significant budget savings as a result of the legislation.
“We strongly urge Members of Congress to move forward with implementation of The Affordable Care Act. When we help children grow and succeed, we are paving the way for our country's next generation of workers and leaders to fulfill the American Dream. Protecting the health of our nation’s children is not just the right thing to do. It is one of the best investments we can make as a nation.”