AHCA Round Two: Same Bad Deal Made Even WORSE for Children & Families
Ari Goldberg (Former Staff)Federal Budget Health
(WASHINGTON, DC) – With President Trump’s 100-day milestone looming, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Republican leaders continue negotiations to secure the votes they need to pass signature health care legislation, the American Health Care Act (AHCA). After weeks of being stalled, a vote could come as early as Friday or Saturday. The AHCA would repeal key elements of the Affordable Care Act, but more important for children and other vulnerable populations, it would fundamentally restructure the Medicaid program.
An updated version of the proposal, designed to win support from conservative GOP Members who scuttled an earlier version of the bill, includes the devastating Medicaid cuts from the original bill and goes even further with changes that would reduce coverage, benefits and affordability, especially for those with pre-existing conditions or complex medical needs.
Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus, issued the following statement.
“We are deeply disappointed that Representatives who talk a good game about protecting children are poised to turn their back on them. This bill is a direct attack on kids, who make up nearly half of the Medicaid population.
Far from improving coverage and affordability of health care, this bill would cut $839 billion from Medicaid, which millions of our children, seniors, and disabled Americans rely on. The House bill ends the Medicaid entitlement 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.
It is also an attack on states who get shortchanged in the AHCA deal. Cuts in the magnitude of $839 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. In a bill that has been touted to improve care for Americans, this bill does the opposite. Block grants and per capita caps have a singular purpose – cutting federal funding to states.
We urge all Members of Congress to adopt a ‘do no harm’ approach and reject any proposal that jeopardizes coverage for our nation’s most vulnerable children.
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.”
First Focus is a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit www.firstfocus.org.