At a time when we should be celebrating Medicaid and CHIP successes, serious threats to Medicaid, CHIP and the ACA continue to surface in Congress. So, in addition to advocating for continuing improvements in children's health coverage, we must also play defense to protect the hard-earned gains made for children as well as adults.
In the House and Senate budget proposals for fiscal year 2016, passed with only Republican votes at the end of March, there are big winners and big losers. The big winners are defense spending and contractors and very wealthy people and powerful special interests. The big losers are children, our poorest group in America, and struggling low- and middle-income families.
Congress must stop playing politics with children and pass four more years of funding for CHIP and MIECHV as part of the "doc fix" package if millions of children are not to be left with uncertainty and at greater risk. We need to ensure our children are healthy, supported, and strong if they are going to be able to support our growing number of seniors in the future.
When many people hear child poverty in America, the first stereotype is an inner-city child. But in a nation where over 16 million children, more than one in five, are poor, the truth is that child poverty affects children everywhere, although we know it affects urban, suburban, and rural children in some ways differently.
More uninsured parents and children are getting health care coverage. That's a very good thing. But implementing policies like Express Lane Eligibility that can help get those with limited resources access to health care in a streamlined and efficient way while generating administrative savings, well, that's a great thing.
President Obama's 2014 budget proposal contains a lot of good news for children and families on the rough edges of America's struggling economy, putting real teeth behind his recent calls for creating ladders of opportunity and helping to level the playing field for millions of Americans wrestling with poverty.