Statement from Bruce Lesley, President, First Focus on Children

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In declaring the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate unconstitutional and returning the case to the lower court for dissection, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has potentially denied vital healthcare to millions of U.S. children.

“Today’s decision is yet another attack on this nation’s health care system,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus on Children. “Make no mistake: any rollback of the Affordable Care Act puts children and the families who love them at risk.”

Since the ACA’s passage in March 2010, almost 3 million children have gained coverage and millions more have benefitted from the groundbreaking transformations the law made to our health care system. Losing the ACA would be disastrous for our kids.

Because of the ACA, children with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, juvenile diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and other chronic diseases are no longer denied coverage. Lifetime and annual dollar limits — which could be easily exhausted by a newborn in the neonatal care unit — no longer inhibit a child’s ongoing care. Instead of being uninsured, former foster youth can stay on Medicaid coverage until they are 26, matching their peers who can remain on their parents’ private coverage. These scenarios were harsh realities for millions of families and their children before the ACA, and they could be the realities of our future, should it be rescinded.