By Fernando Stein, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics
"Following the failure of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the American Academy of Pediatrics urges our federal leaders to start over and instead consider health care reform proposals that will move children's health care coverage forward, not backward.
"In the pages of local newspapers, in Capitol Hill offices and at press events across the country, pediatricians have been voicing our opposition to the AHCA and the detrimental impact it would have on children and families. Our voices were heard and the AHCA did not advance, but our work is far from over.
"The rate of children's health coverage in our country is at a historic high of 95%, and any new health care policies must build on this progress, not tear it down. Nearly 36 million children receive Medicaid coverage, including children with special health care needs and those from low-income families. Though Medicaid is an entitlement program, it is also an empowerment program, allowing families to hold down jobs while caring for ill children, pregnant women to access vital services to ensure she and her baby stay healthy, and providing critical supports for people with disabilities so they can live independently. Any proposal to dismantle Medicaid would have devastating, multi-generational effects on children and families, and it has no place in any future proposal considered by Congress.
"Children are our future, and their future depends on a strong Medicaid program. Pediatricians stand ready to work with Congress and the administration on any future efforts to reform health care, with one condition: that such policies keep Medicaid strong and put children first."