In 2010, Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, historic health reform legislation that changed the playing field for children and the health care system. Children’s Health Fund has strongly supported the ACA—most recently when certain House members shut down the government in an effort to derail it:
Statement by Irwin Redlener, M.D., President and Co-Founder of Children's Health Fund, on the Attempt by Congressional Leaders to Defund the Affordable Care Act by Shutting Down the Government, Without Regard for the Consequences for America’s Kids
The defunding or elimination of the Affordable Care Act has become the centerpiece of a major political battle. But what is at stake goes far beyond an ideological conflict; this is about the wellbeing of America’s children and their ability to access necessary health care.
Currently, 6.6 million children in the U.S. are without health insurance. That means the only medical care they can count on is an inefficient and often traumatic visit to the emergency room. It means they have no reliable way of getting essential primary and preventive care, including critical vaccines, treatment for chronic illnesses like asthma, or screening for hearing or vision problems that could even interfere with learning in school. In short, it means, their health is on the line.
The Affordable Care Act – also known as Obamacare – is an important step forward for America's medically underserved children and families. And as of this very week, it is making health insurance coverage available to many people for whom it was previously out of reach, including providing health care for at least 4 million kids and great relief for their families. Lawmakers who refuse to accept this are playing politics with young lives.
I am confident that President Obama and leaders in the United States Senate will continue to stand behind the Affordable Care Act. If leaders in the House of Representatives care about America's children and the future of this country, they will end this stalemate and allow the government to resume its operations.
Over the last 20 years, CHF has worked to address coverage and access issues in our nation’s health care system, and stands firm in the belief that access to health care for all is a fundamental right, especially for children.
Even after the ACA takes effect, up to 1.7 million children will remain uninsured. Millions more with insurance will continue to face barriers to care, including shortages of health care providers and lack of access to transportation resources. CHF is working with legislators and policymakers to find ways to overcome these barriers and expand the health care safety net to every child in America.
Critical work remains to ensure that every child has access to care that is comprehensive, continuous, coordinated, compassionate, family-centered, and culturally effective—what is called a “medical home."