The GOP’s apparent failure to pass the American Health Care Act is a huge win for the health and wellbeing of our children, both locally and across the country.
The proposal ultimately would have slashed hundreds of millions of dollars to Washington’s Medicaid program, forcing state leaders to decide whether and how to cover this cost to insure our most vulnerable.
RIght now, one out of every two children in Washington is insured through Medicaid, many of whom have higher risk for poor health. The impact on communities when children are uninsured goes well beyond the specific child and family. Healthier kids become healthier adults. Children enrolled in Medicaid miss fewer school days and are more likely to attend and graduate from college.
When kids have insurance, they receive more timely preventive care and are less likely to end up in crowded emergency rooms where the cost of care is much higher.
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Improving the Affordable Care Act, not dismantling it, is our nation’s best path forward. Reducing Medicaid coverage for children is a “penny wise, pound foolish” gamble on the future that our country cannot afford.
(Ayer is a Tacoma pediatrician.)