ZERO TO THREE's Statement on the American Health Care Act
The following statement regarding the effect of the American Health Care Act on babies and families with young children may be attributed to Matthew Melmed, executive director, ZERO TO THREE:
“The American Health Care Act is detrimental to babies and families with young children, resulting in loss of coverage and care that will ultimately impact healthy brain development and growth.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the uninsured rate for the millions of young children in the United States has fallen to a record low (3.2 percent). The American Health Care Act threatens to roll back that progress by making quality health care less affordable and accessible to families with young children, particularly those who struggle to make ends meet. While the legislation maintains the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that all private health plans and Medicaid include preventative care and essential benefits – both of which support the health of babies - it fails to provide the subsidies families need to afford such plans.
Restructuring Medicaid under the current House bill—which is something a majority of Americans disagree with—will limit the federal funding that states receive for the program, forcing them to make hard choices with their very limited dollars. This new structure means significant funding cuts for states –hampering their ability to ensure that crucial services, such as those required by Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment to catch and treat delays or diseases in very young children – are continued. And it means going back to a time when quality health care coverage will be out-of-reach for far too many hard-working American families.
The first days, weeks and months of life build the architecture of a baby’s brain—literally laying the foundation for all future learning and success. To ensure a strong future workforce and economy, babies and families must have access to quality and continuous health care coverage. We look forward to working with Congress to ensure the needs of babies and very young toddlers are a priority.”
More information on what the repeal of the Affordable Care Act will mean for babies and toddlers is available here: www.zerotothree.org/ACArepeal.