Bipartisan health care solution possible through process


An effort is under way to convince lawmakers to become champions for children's health. While not ideal, the ACA has resulted in new Medicaid coverage for 33,985 people living in Alaska and more than 20 million across the country. The Children's Health Insurance Program uses federal funds to match state funds that are providing coverage to children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid but unable to afford private coverage.

I am concerned that the Medicaid provisions in the Congressional replacements to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) jeopardize health care for the nation's most vulnerable children: children with disabilities and children in poverty.

Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program cover almost 36 million children. Preventative care saves money and is better than cutting $880 billion from Medicaid.

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It would even allow insurance companies to charge older Americans five times more for coverage than everyone else. Medicaid/CHIP is a safety net, covering 59% of the 2.7 million children with special health care needs whose families have had to reduce their work hours or stop working altogether due to their child's health status, and serving as the sole source of coverage for almost half of these children.

The goal should be getting more people health care and creating a wellness-centered system rather than a disease-centered system. A per capita cap will harm children's access to care, including services received at school. Many Medicaid coverage pathways for children with disabilities, and some community-based long-term care services provided through waivers, are offered at state option, making them subject to potential cuts as states adjust to substantial federal funding reductions under a per capita cap.