Devastating American Health Care Act Puts Kids at Risk

The passage of the American Health Care Act by the U.S. House of Representatives today will have a devastating impact on children and families in Oregon. The bill decimates Medicaid and threatens vulnerable children and families’ access to treatment for medical conditions.

At a minimum, Medicaid will be cut by more than $800 billion over 10 years, resulting in at least 24 million more uninsured people nationwide within a decade. It places a cap on federal funding for Medicaid, which will create a hole in our state’s budget, risk cuts to critical programs, and leave state and local taxpayers to foot the bill.

This measure also opens the door for insurers to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, which means that kids with asthma, diabetes, heart defects, and other serious conditions may not have access to health care coverage. The bill also imposes annual and lifetime caps, turning back the clock to a time when insurers could deny coverage for life-saving treatments.

Children First for Oregon recently detailed how these structural and funding changes compromise the progress Oregon has made to provide access to health care coverage for 98% of children. Medicaid has worked well for over 50 years and continues to work well today. Congress needs to keep Medicaid whole and intact, so we can ensure a healthy future for our kids.

We thank House Representatives Blumenauer, Bonamici, DeFazio, and Schrader for standing up for children, seniors, people with disabilities, pregnant women, families, and those with pre-existing conditions who will pay a dangerous price if this bill becomes law. And we’re counting on Senators Wyden and Merkley to work with their colleagues in the Senate to protect Medicaid.

What’s new at Children First for Oregon?

By Tonia Hunt

The answer is: a lot. The last few months at Children First have been a whirlwind.

In February, we launched United for Kids and unveiled the 2015 Children’s Agenda – which compiles the best thinking of 65 pro-child advocacy organizations and coalitions and makes clear to legislators what Oregon’s children need.

As the convener and coordinator of United for Kids, Children First is bringing together a diverse group of voters, child and family advocates, businesses, labor groups, funders, faith communities, and elected leaders to speak with a unified voice for kids.  I urge you to join United for Kids today and add your name to the nearly 5,000 Oregonians who have already signed up to make kids a top public policy priority!

Since the start of the legislative session the Children First staff team has been in Salem every day to support the Children’s Agenda participants and help advance policy items that make kids’ lives better. We have been privileged to work with great advocacy peers to expand access to free school lunch for children from low-income families, health care for all children in Oregon, gun safety to protect children, affordable child care for working families, and adequate school funding – among other issues.  Whether meeting with legislators, offering testimony and floor letters, providing policy and data research, or coordinating behind the scenes with advocacy partners, Children First has been working hard to speak for Oregon’s 860,000 children.

A lot of work remains to make Oregon the best place to be a kid. We can only make that change if you help us. Start today by joining United for Kids, reading our blogs, making a gift, and visiting us on social media. And stay tuned for what we have in store next!