At Kids Plus Pediatrics, we love kids. We work all day, every day, to keep children healthy, happy, and ready to reach their full potential. We work for these goals not only for “our” kids we see in our offices, but for all the kids in our region, our state, our country, and the world at large.
Because we want ALL children to live healthy, productive lives, we, the physician owners of Kids Plus Pediatrics, are compelled to speak out about the changes now being proposed to the Medicaid and CHIP programs.
Today, 1.4 million children in Pennsylvania rely on Medicaid and CHIP programs to access the health care they need. More than 35 million — including nearly half of all children with special needs — rely on them nationwide. All children in foster care — around 500,000 each year — rely on Medicaid for their health care.
Studies show that children with health care through Medicaid miss fewer days of school, do better in school, are more likely to graduate from high school, and go on to have better-paying jobs than their peers who don’t have that same access to care. Spending these dollars on the health and wellness of our children is an investment that clearly pays off, both for individuals and for society as a whole.
With the cuts now being proposed, and with the proposed change to capped block grants, every state would have much less money to spend on health care for its most vulnerable citizens, and would be free to divert money from the care of children to other needs. In other words: children would get the short end of the stick. Or no stick at all.
Medicaid and CHIP are vital for children’s health. Cutting the number of kids eligible to receive health care through those programs would have very real, and dire, consequences for millions of children.
Many children would lose access to basic, preventive health care like vaccines and well visits and hearing, vision, and developmental screenings. Many children who need wheelchairs or hearing aids would no longer be able to afford them. Many children at their most vulnerable — those who need access to speech therapy or mental health services or reproductive health services or addiction treatment services — would be unable to get the help they need.
The bottom line is clear, and disturbing: with these cuts, many children in Pennsylvania, and all across the country, would lose their access to health care, and their ability to participate fully in life.
That’s why we felt it was so important to write this note.
This isn’t a political stance. It’s a pediatric stance. And a profoundly human one, too.
If we want to preserve essential health care for our most precious and vulnerable resources, we have to act now. I, and the other physician owners of Kids Plus, will be writing and calling our Senators and Congresspersons this week, asking them to preserve Medicaid and CHIP coverage for children.
If you’d like to add your voice to ours, and to the voices of so many more people who work for the health and wellness of children, here are some resources to help:
We hope you’ll join us in action to help protect the health and well-being of so many of our children.