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Letter: Health care bill will reduce coverage and hurt children

Health care bill will reduce coverage and hurt children

As pediatricians, we see firsthand the impact of affordable health care coverage for children. Health insurance enables children and their families to receive regular preventive care and sick care when they need it. Research shows that children with health insurance are healthier, more likely to attend school, and become healthy, successful adults who are gainfully employed.

We also see what happens when children and their families don’t have health coverage. Children don’t get their immunizations on time, treatment for infections is delayed and chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes aren’t managed, leading to worse health and missed school days.

Today, 98 percent of children in New York State have health insurance due to Medicaid, Child Health Plus (CHIP), the Affordable Care Act and traditional employer-sponsored insurance. Medicaid alone covers 100 percent of children in foster care, 84 percent of children living in or near poverty, and 39 percent of children who have disabilities. This is a historic high for coverage and reflects the strength of the Medicaid federal-state partnership.

The American Health Care Act reverses the progress in coverage for children. The AHCA simply shifts costs to the states by reducing federal support for Medicaid coverage. The targeted cuts are so drastic that no amount of “flexibility” can address the coverage loss that children and their families will have. The cuts particularly threaten those who need the coverage the most: children with disabilities and low-income families.

We stand opposed to the AHCA and any legislation that reduces coverage for children.

Dennis Z. Kuo, M.D., MHS, FAAP

Hodge Pediatrics, Buffalo

Michael D. Terranova, M.D., FAAP

Lancaster-Depew Pediatrics

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