As a parent, when I’m figuring out our family budget, I know it’s important to take into account all of our expenses. There’s no way around it. My family is a family of four so whether it’s grocery shopping or health care or other basic expenses the budget has to reflect the cost of taking care of all of us.

As a children’s health advocate, I spend a good part of my work each week spreading the word about the important gains won for kids in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The list of victories for kids is amazing. Because of the ACA children with cancer, children born with birth defects, children with asthma, and special-needs kids, among others, are no longer excluded from coverage because they have a preexisting condition. No longer are insurers permitted to set lifetime caps on coverage or benefits so if a child beats leukemia when they are 8 they will still be able to get the care they need if they face another serious illness later in life. Parents can keep their children up to age 26 on their health insurance policies. I could go on and on. However, as the ACA is being implemented, there are still some really important details that must be ironed out if kids and families are to reap the full benefits of health reform. And it is essential that our leaders get these details right.

There is no doubt that the ACA is already improving the lives of our nation’s children but there is a serious glitch in a current interpretation of the law that has the potential to leave a significant number of family members without an affordable coverage option. Specifically, under a proposed Treasury Department rule, the test of whether an employer-based health plan is affordable for an entire family is based only on the cost of coverage for the employee. This ignores the question workers would actually face – is my coverage actually affordable for my family?

The alarming reality for kids and many spouses, too, is that the answer to that question will often be “no” because employee-only insurance premiums cost about $5,400 a year, while annual employee-and-family premiums cost on average $15,000 – three times more expensive. If the Treasury Department’s interpretation is not clarified, dependent family members may be left without an affordable coverage option and parents will be denied tax credits that could help bring the cost of dependent coverage within reach.

The Treasury Department is writing the final rules now on this critical affordability issue and it has the opportunity to fix this “family glitch.” The fundamental goal of the ACA – ensuring that every American has access to affordable coverage – lies in the balance.

Just like my family budget, none of this is rocket science. In order for health care to be affordable for a family, it has to take into account the cost of covering all family members. That’s just commonsense. Our leaders must figure out a way to fix this “family-glitch” so that every American, especially those in working families are not left out of the promise of health reform.