The Future of Children is At Stake


As Congress returns from the July 4th recess, the cruel Senate health bill still hangs in the balance. The uncertainty around the so-called “Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA)” begs the question: What will happen to American children–especially the 37 million who rely on Medicaid for health coverage?

Referring to the health care debate, Jason Grumet, founder and president of the Bipartisan Policy Center, quipped at a recent event his group hosted: “Today’s panel will be talking about something that hasn’t been in the news at all lately!”

Henry Claypool, a former official from the Department of Health and Human Services, emphasized the impact BCRA would have on kids. He said those who require long-term care will be particularly hurt because they “will most likely lose their coverage.” Claypool and other panelists discussed the impact of slashing hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicaid , as the Senate bill proposes, on vulnerable populations like children and the elderly.

Meanwhile, the popular and effective Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is set to expire on September 30 and there is no indication Congress will renew the program in time. Dr. Anthony Tedeschi, a doctor at the Children’s Hospital in Detroit, said he’s worried because 70 percent of the children at his facility rely on CHIP or Medicaid for health insurance.

Hemi Tewarlson from the National Governors Association noted that CHIP provides health coverage to 8 million children and has historically received bipartisan support.

It’s all too common for Members of Congress to ignore the impact on kids when it comes to policymaking. Kids can’t vote, and they don’t call Congressional offices to complain. It’s left to adults – and groups like First Focus – to ensure that kids are a top priority when it comes to healthcare.

Kids are the future of America. Their health and wellbeing should be one of our nation’s top priorities.