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3/16/17blog post

what repealing "Obamacare" means for kids

It’s hard to miss all of the news and discussion regarding Congress’ efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare” and what it will mean for adults and seniors. Unfortunately there is very little discussion about kids and how the American Health Care Act (AHCA) impacts them and those who care for them.

As currently proposed, the AHCA does not safeguard the health care benefits for the more than 30 million American children served by Medicaid. These children were covered before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was put in place and were not part of the Medicaid expansion population in Ohio. A challenge is that Medicaid is administered a little differently state to state. We are watching closely to see how any changes will impact the children we serve.

Dayton Children’s is joining with our colleagues at the Children’s Hospital Association with this message to Congress: The repeal and replacement of the AHCA should not be pulling the coverage from our nation’s children that they had prior to the adoption of the ACA.

The Children’s Hospital Association has set up a system for constituents to contact their federal legislators about this very important issue. Learn more by visiting their Speak Now for Kids site: http://www.congressweb.com/speaknowforkids/18

More than 30 million children in the US and one million Ohio children rely on Medicaid for health care insurance coverage. In Ohio, children make up more than 50 percent of the Medicaid enrollees, yet they account for less than 20 percent of the costs. Coverage for children is truly a good value. In fact, Ohio’s Medicaid costs for children are among the lowest of any state nationwide, despite having the best network of hospitals in the country. Ohio ranks 47th nationally in costs per member per month for pediatric Medicaid expenditures.

Early investment can make all of the difference. The federal government should be incentivizing an investment in children’s health. Investments in children are the key to changing the long-term trajectory of health care spending – and the long-term health of our communities. We know that children with access to Medicaid (and therefore health care) are more likely to attend school, graduate from high school and go to college, become healthier adults who will earn higher wages and pay more in taxes than children that do not have appropriate health care.

While it’s easy to get lost in politics, one message needs to ring true and clear: children’s health and their access to care should not be compromised – our future depends on it!