Our Statement on the American Health Care Act
Preventing abuse and neglect of our nation’s children is a bipartisan issue. At Prevent Child Abuse America, we understand that strengthening American families is a top priority for Democrats and Republicans alike. We are grateful to work alongside members of both parties as we seek to advance policies and programs that support the next generation of American entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders.
The American Health Care Act (AHCA), as passed by the House of Representatives, concerns us and our partners in the prevention field. We understand that this piece of legislation is far from complete and encourage the Senate to focus on American families while working on the AHCA.
Health coverage for growing children is incredibly important, not only for their health today but for their future success. Research shows that children enrolled in public health insurance programs perform better in school, miss fewer classes and are more likely to graduate. These children will become our future job creators who will help expand our economy.
If we truly want to set future generations up for success, we must ensure families have access to affordable, quality health coverage today. Unfortunately, the AHCA does not achieve this goal for American families in its current form:
- Losing access to healthcare means more children will miss out on critical preventative screenings. Nearly 29 million children with private health coverage will, under the AHCA, lose access to annual physicals. Preventative care is critical to catching problems early, thus saving money and lives.
- As written, the AHCA will cut $880 billion dollars from Medicaid over the next decade. For more than 50 years, Medicaid has played a crucial role in making health care accessible to lower income families and currently more than 37 million children depend on Medicaid. By cutting the program in this way, the AHCA will hit working families the hardest.
- The AHCA doesn’t just affect children on a federal level. The AHCA will eliminate approximately $625 million in annual funding provided to state and local health departments that provides immunizations and preventative screenings. Eliminating these funds push the burden onto local government, essentially meaning children and families will get hit twice as hard.
We are hopeful that the Senate will take these considerations to heart when reviewing the AHCA. Currently more than 95 percent of children have health coverage, an all-time high. Additionally, the Affordable Care Act has made great strides forward in other important health areas, such as: substance abuse treatment, prenatal care, postpartum depression, and well-baby visits. These are critical services that help families provide a safe, stable and nurturing environment children need to live the American Dream.