By: Lee Savio Beers, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics
"Today's passage of the Build Back Better Act in the U.S. House of Representatives marks both significant progress and promise for child health. With comprehensive policies like paid family and medical leave and improvements to children's health care coverage, the legislation prioritizes the health of children and families and provides the support they need to thrive.
"The COVID-19 pandemic brought on a new set of challenges for families, while also magnifying those that have existed well before the crisis. For far too long, too many families have been forced to choose between earning a paycheck or being there to care for their newborn or a sick loved one. Comprehensive, permanent paid family and medical leave has countless long-term health benefits and will offer families the security and stability they deserve. We must ensure this strong policy becomes law.
"The Build Back Better Act also makes critical investments in children's health by addressing the threat of climate change, expanding early childhood care and education, increasing access to home and community-based services, and providing certainty in health insurance coverage for children and postpartum people. Policies like the extension of the child tax credit will help keep families out of poverty and key child nutrition program improvements will reach millions of children with nutrition assistance year-round. And, while we are disappointed that the bill does not deliver on a path to citizenship for Dreamers, essential workers and other immigrant families, the legislation takes an important step forward by allowing immigrant families to live and work without the fear of deportation.
"Together, these policies work to put the health and well-being of children and families first. The American Academy of Pediatrics is urging the U.S. Senate to maintain all of these strong provisions and advance this landmark legislation without delay. Children are counting on us, and it is time we act."
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 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.