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Congress: Don’t hurt children

MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN | 3/19/2017, 7:15 a.m.
“I believe that the odds were stacked against me from the day I was born. She was never really a ...

• Jeopardizes the ability of other child serving systems such as Education and Child Welfare that depend on Medicaid to offer critical help and support to children in care. Children with disabilities who have Individualized Education Plans that call for special services to be delivered in the schools or children with abuse histories or disabilities that require treatment in foster homes or residential treatment will be at special risk.

• Severely limits access to mental health and substance abuse treatment needed to stem the tide of opioid and other addictions for children, youths and adults, destroying families and likely sending more children into foster care and homelessness. Changes proposed to both the ACA and Medicaid would limit coverage of these treatments.

CDF calls on Congress to protect children’s current health coverage as it considers the American Health Care Act and vote NO unless significant changes are made to ensure the “do no harm” standard, a core tenet of medical treatment, is followed. The American Health Care Act would reverse progress and make many millions of children worse off by depriving them of the comprehensive and affordable child-appropriate coverage they are guaranteed today, jeopardizing their futures and also the nation’s future economic and national security. Children who cannot see or hear the teacher, have undiagnosed attention deficit disorders, or are suffering from depression and other mental health disorders are less likely to learn in school. Congress and the administration should continue to make it easier – not harder – for children like Bethany to get the critical supports they need to survive, thrive and contribute to our nation. So help us speak up.

Marian Wright Edelman is the president of the Children’s Defense Fund. For more information, go to http://www.childrensdefense.org.