The proposed Republican sponsored American Care Act will impact children dramatically here in Utah and nationally. Children whose families have incomes less than 140 percent of the federal poverty level in Utah are eligible for Medicaid and up to 200 percent are eligible for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which supplements the family’s contribution.
Twenty-percent of Utah children are insured by Medicaid or CHIP while 8 percent do not have any insurance. The current Republican proposal plans to eliminate federal funding for Medicaid. Instead of covering the child’s actual medical bills, Medicaid funding to the states will change to block grants, which will drastically reduce total Medicaid funding to cover our children. States must balance their budgets annually, and will be forced to reduce services, especially during economic downturns as state revenues decrease. These cuts will affect those who most need assistance, including a large fraction of children.
As a society, we need to control health care costs. However, we should not achieve this by defunding pediatric health care to Utah’s children. The American Care Act as currently written does not offer improved care but rather is destined to deny care. As a pediatrician, I hope that the public will call and write our representatives and encourage them to not make hasty and ill prepared plans without careful thought.
Salt Lake City