Have a Heart for Kids Day rally, 2015

Congress would reverse gains in kids’ health coverage

Adam 12/22/16

No child should have to go without the health care they need for lifelong health. There’s been great progress for kids in Washington state due to two public policy decisions at the state and national level. Because of the state’s nearly 10-year-old Cover All Kids law, and the federal Affordable Care Act, the number of uninsured children in Washington declined by 55 percent from 95,000 in 2013 to 43,000 in 2015.

But an estimated 145,000 Washington children may be left vulnerable to illness and financial disaster if Congress undoes the law next month.

That’s enough kids to fill Husky Stadium—twice.

Undoing the law would also reverse critical policy advances like ensuring children aren’t denied affordable care because of pre-existing conditions and that youth can keep their coverage as they transition to adulthood. The state would bear a financial cost of $3.5 billion in lost federal assistance in 2019 alone. Losing critical revenue diminishes Washington’s ability to promote healthy families and communities.

A new report by the Urban Institute shows that parents across the country—and their children—stand to lose crucial health protections if Congressional Republicans tear down the Affordable Care Act next month. The Urban Institute report analyzed the impact of a partial repeal of the ACA, modeled on the 2015 reconciliation bill that was approved by Congress and then vetoed by President Obama. Congressional leaders recently announced that they intend to attempt to pass a similar reconciliation bill in January. The Urban Institute analysis found that nearly a quarter of all Washington parents could be uninsured by 2019.

Nearly 10 years since state lawmakers passed the Cover All Kids law, we’ve made tremendous progress toward all children having health insurance. Of the tens of thousands of kids who remain uninsured, however, a disproportionate number are children of color. Instead of tearing down the ACA without a replacement, we should be working hard to make sure all kids are connected to coverage and care.

Children’s Alliance members are asking state and federal policymakers to protect kids from harmful decisions like this. If you haven’t taken action yet, join hundreds of members statewide by clicking here.