"The American Academy of Pediatrics applauds Congress for passing the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 this morning, which includes funding for several programs critical to children's health.
"Today's bill passage offers needed relief to families who rely on the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV). In addition to the six-year CHIP funding extension passed in January, this agreement extends CHIP funding for four more years, through 2027, and provides five years of funding for MIECHV. This means long-term stability for families depending on these programs who faced an uncertain future for far too long. The bill also includes the Family First Prevention Services Act, long-supported by the AAP, which is a significant reform of the child welfare system to emphasize prevention instead of family separation.
"The bill also offers much-needed aid for recovery and rebuilding to communities that were devastated during last year's hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters. In particular, the AAP strongly supports the bill's inclusion of Medicaid funding to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which is fully paid for by the federal government. These additional resources are long overdue and will help improve the health of families in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
"The bipartisan budget bill also addresses several other child health priorities, including funding to help combat the opioid crisis, support mental health, and continue the Child Care Development Block Grant, which funds quality child care for low-income families. The bill also at long last lifts damaging budget caps that have limited the ability of critical agencies like the National Institutes of Health and programs like Head Start to help children reach their full potential.
"Pediatricians work every day to ensure children can grow up healthy, and many of the programs and policies that received funding today play a vital role in making that possible. Looking ahead, the Academy will continue to urge leaders at all levels of government to put children first when considering all short- and long-term funding decisions. Our country's future depends on it."
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.