In the decades of child health advocacy leading up to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) becoming law and throughout these past few years of its implementation, the Academy has been steadfastly focused on making the ACA as strong as possible for children and pediatricians.
AAP's Priorities: the ABCs of Health Reform for Children
During the debates leading up to the law’s passage, the AAP championed three fundamental priorities for children and pediatricians, as simple as ‘A-B-C’: Access to health care services, age-appropriate Benefits in a medical home and health care Coverage for all children in the United States. The ACA not only addresses these goals, but provides many additional benefits for children and the pediatricians who care for them.
As of September 23, 2010, the following child health reforms have already taken effect:
• guaranteed health care coverage for children with pre-existing conditions
• no more lifetime coverage limits
• restrictions on annual coverage limits
• essential preventive care services (as recommended by Bright Futures) are provided with no cost-sharing for families with new health insurance plans
• insurance companies are prevented from dropping coverage when a child or adult gets sick
• young adults can stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until they turn 26
• out-of-pocket expenses are capped at $5,950/individual and $11,900/family
• parents can designate a pediatrician as their child’s primary care provider
Health Reform Implementation
While the ACA was signed into law in 2010, many of its provisions require additional guidance before they take effect. Often, this level of detail comes from federal regulations that further define the law’s many provisions. The Academy has been at the forefront of this level of advocacy, having written numerous public comments
to ACA regulations.
The Academy will continue to provide feedback to federal agencies overseeing the law’s implementation to ensure that the ACA provides children with access to the services, coverage and benefits they need to stay healthy. The Academy is also actively working at the state level with AAP chapters to ensure that state implementation of health care reform meets the needs of children and the profession of pediatrics.
Supreme Court Decision to Uphold the Law
In June 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the ACA. The Academy endorsed the law in 2010 and filed three amici curiae (“friends of the court”) briefs to the Supreme Court in support of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, individual mandate and the mandate’s severability from the rest of the statute. To learn more about what the Court's decision means for children and pediatricians, read this AAP News article
breaking down the decision.