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As you are probably aware, the Super Committee has failed to complete what they were tasked to do: reach agreement on trillions of dollars in deficit reductions in order to get the country on a sound fiscal track. The result of this failure is that $1.2 trillion in automatic across-the-board budget cuts will go into effect starting in January 2013.
This mechanism, referred to as “sequestration”, provides a framework to Congress on how these automatic cuts will be implemented. For the most part, it does not specify which individual programs will be subject to budget cuts. However, it does single out some important child-focused programs that will be protected under sequestration, including Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and certain child nutrition programs. This is great news for the millions of kids across the country who depend on these programs. Unfortunately, other health care safety net programs that provide services and support to children and their families may not fare as well, as their budgets are very much at risk of being slashed.
Potentially, Congress could also act to completely change sequestration before 2013; however, the President has said he would veto any legislation that changes the automatic cuts. If Congress does decide to act, it is critical that programs like Medicaid and CHIP, untouched under sequestration, remain the same under any new plan.
What we do know is that more action from Congress will be necessary in the coming months and years to safeguard the economy and our country’s financial standing in the world. Going forward, the nation’s leaders must prioritize children’s needs within any strategy to address our fiscal responsibilities. CHF will continue to closely monitor the actions of Congress and keep you updated.