"As a pediatrician, I am fearful for my patients and the uncertain future they would face under Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy's (R-La.) health care proposal, currently set for a vote next week in the U.S. Senate. As president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, I must speak out against this dangerous, ill-conceived policy on behalf of our 66,000 pediatrician, pediatric surgical specialist and pediatric medical subspecialist members, and stop it from advancing.
"This bill may be disguised under a different name, but it contains the same dangerous policies as the legislation that failed to advance out of the Senate earlier this summer. In fact, Graham-Cassidy goes even further in its attacks on Medicaid.
"By turning Medicaid into a block grant, capping its funding and ending its expansion, this proposal would have devastating effects on the nearly 37 million children across the country who rely on the program. Medicaid is a lifeline for children from low-income families and with special health care needs, and this proposal would leave them with nowhere to turn. Graham-Cassidy also eliminates subsidies that have helped almost 9 million people afford health insurance, and allows states to opt out of a wide range of protections put in place by the Affordable Care Act, like guaranteeing coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and eliminating lifetime caps on coverage. Any legislation that would leave more families uninsured, or without insurance they can afford or that meets their basic needs, is unacceptable.
"Throughout this debate, pediatricians have spoken up for and advocated alongside children whose health hangs in the balance of the harmful policies of this proposal and the bills that came before it. These are real families with real stories whose lives will be turned upside down if these policies advance. We count on our legislators to support policies that put children first, and this proposal leaves them worse off.
"The American Academy of Pediatrics urges the Senate to oppose the Graham-Cassidy proposal, and instead turn to bipartisan solutions that are crafted in the best interest of children and families, like the Children's Health Insurance Program and Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program, which both expire next week. Pediatricians will continue to focus on the children we care for as this process unfolds, and we will not stop speaking up on their behalf until we see legislation that puts them first."
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.