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House Passes Legislation That Could Put Access to Health Care for Millions of Children and Families At Risk

On May 4, the House of Representatives barely passed H.R. 1628, the “American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017,” on a party-line vote. H.R. 1628 would replace the “Affordable Care Act of 2010,” and if enacted into law, it could result in more than 20 million people losing access to health insurance, as well as millions of children losing access to Medicaid coverage, over the next decade.

The House tried to pass AHCA in March but lacked the votes. In an effort to win over holdouts, who were mostly moderate Republican members, last-minute amendments were offered including one from Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) that would allow states to waive requirements for people with pre-existing conditions. Another amendment, from Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI), would add an additional $8 billion to the $130 billion high-risk pools proposed in the H.R. 1628 for people with pre-existing conditions. According to numerous health care experts, funding included in the new risk pool would be well short of what’s needed. According to one analysis, this new provision would would only protect about 5% of people with pre-existing conditions.

These new provisions are in addition to the other harmful proposals that remained in the final version of AHCA including:

  • cutting $15 billion for mandatory care, which includes maternal and mental health coverage,
  • ending Medicaid expansion and eliminating over $800 billion in funding,
  • and repeal the individual mandate for both individuals and employers (for more, please read our summary from March).

In total, over $1 trillion in benefits would be eliminated. In addition, according to the Wall Street Journal, this bill would likely have a negative impact for people who currently have employer-sponsored health insurance.

In March, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), estimated that AHCA would lead to higher deductibles for low-income families and projected that nearly 24 million people would lose access to their insurance by 2026, with 14 million losing access next year alone. The CBO did not have enough time to provide the House with an updated estimate based on the recent changes to AHCA before this afternoon’s vote, however, they intend to publish a “score” next week.

Child Care Aware® of America believes that quality child care settings are ones that are provided in healthy environments and that develop age-appropriate healthy habits. Access to health insurance for children has long-term positive outcomes, such as reductions in infant mortality, illness and deaths, improved overall childhood health, and reduced disability. Access to health care also improves academic and social emotional success and well-being.

CCAoA encourages policies that promote further access to affordable quality health care for children and their families. Learn more by visiting our policy agenda at www.usa.childcareaware.org/policyagenda.

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