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UPDATE: Affordable Care Act's Survival a Victory for Kids
In a surprising but positive turn of events, Congress last week abandoned its long-sought-after goal of repealing President Obama's health care law. Strong opposition to the repeal effort from people with varying viewpoints forced President Trump and leaders in Congress to back down from their top policy pledge. This was a huge win for America's kids and families, but new threats to kids -- over health care and other priorities -- lurk close behind.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, as well as to Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and employer-sponsored health insurance, 95 percent of young children in the U.S. today are covered -- a record high. All families with kids have benefited from the law over the last few years, while millions of low-income children and their parents have secured coverage they didn't have before. Parents with health insurance are more likely to seek medical care for themselves and their children, helping to prevent illnesses from developing and shortening their duration when they occur.
Under the repeal legislation that President Trump and congressional leaders proposed, 24 million fewer Americans would have had health insurance, including millions of children. In particular, the bill's proposed 25 percent cut to Medicaid would have drastically harmed the 37 million children who access health care through the program. Medicaid now covers more Americans than Medicare, the main health insurance program for the elderly, and the steep cuts to the program proposed in the repeal plan were a driving force in defeating the bill. Luckily, a number of governors whose states have benefited from Medicaid expansion, including by covering more low-income children, spoke out against the repeal, and enough members of Congress responded accordingly.
The defeat of the repeal bill was a huge win for America’s kids and families, but Common Sense Kids Action remains very concerned about looming threats:
- House Speaker Paul Ryan has announced that he will try to revive the repeal effort in the near future.
- President Trump might take actions to undermine the effectiveness of the current law.
- Recent budget proposals to slash federal programs for child care, education, health care, and environmental protection would harm kids and families if approved.
President Obama's health care law was not perfect, but rather than throw it out and deny coverage to millions of kids and families, Congress should work to improve the law and ensure that all families and businesses can afford good-quality health care. Your voice, along with those of millions of other concerned parents and teachers across the country, clearly made a difference in this recent high-stakes showdown.