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AAP Statement Opposing House Passage of American Health Care Act

5/4/2017 by: Fernando Stein, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics

"The American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed today by a vote of 217-213 in the U.S. House of Representatives, putting into motion a dangerous policy precedent and clearing the first hurdle to reversing the tremendous progress we've made in children's health care coverage. As the U.S. Senate considers this bill, pediatricians urge legislators to start over and find a new way forward.

"The rate of children's health coverage in our country is at a historic high of 95 percent; the AHCA would not only halt this progress, it would tear it down. By dismantling Medicaid through capped funding and the elimination of the Medicaid expansion, those who will suffer the most are those who need health care the most, including the 37 million children across the country who rely on the program. Medicaid works for these children, including those with special health care needs and those from low-income families – they are more likely to get check-ups, miss less school, graduate and enter the workforce than their uninsured peers.  

"The bill also allows insurers to go back to putting annual and lifetime limits on coverage, meaning that a premature baby on private insurance could exceed her lifetime limit on coverage before she even leaves the hospital. In addition, the bill allows insurance companies to refuse to cover those with pre-existing conditions, or charge them more for coverage, meaning that conditions ranging from asthma to pregnancy to cystic fibrosis could completely devastate a family financially and leave those who need care unable to access it.

"AHCA is bad policy for children and dangerous policy for our country, and the American Academy of Pediatrics will continue to speak out against it. We urge U.S. senators to reject AHCA and instead support health care policies that put children and families first."

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.