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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 (October 1, 2013)
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.