President's Message

The Very Real Threat to Children’s Health Coverage

Even as advocates and policymakers dive into the details of the President’s first budget, this much is clear: this proposal is devastating for children, families and communities.

The President’s budget makes additional cuts to Medicaid above the deep reductions present in the American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed by the House and being discussed in the Senate.  How much would Medicaid be cut between these two plans? $1 trillion over 10 years.  On top of that, the President has proposed cuts to the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) of 23%.  These are massive cuts to programs that provide health insurance coverage to 41% of New York’s children. 

Why is this so very important?  Well, with the help of Medicaid and Child Health Plus (CHP), New York has achieved near universal health coverage for children—a remarkable 97.5% of children have coverage.  Let that sink in—nearly all of New York’s children have coverage.  New York has led the way in coverage for children, recognizing what a smart and compassionate investment it is.  We should be justifiably proud of our collective efforts—extending over decades—toward ensuring that all children in the Empire State have health insurance.  Now that legacy is threatened.  There also is significant concern about the impact of significant Medicaid reductions on the stability of our health care safety net, including community health centers, hospitals, and pediatricians.   

The President’s budget uses the CHIP block grant and the per capita cap passed in the AHCA to extract savings (above and beyond the House-passed AHCA bill) from these programs.  This confirms the suspicions of advocates that federal officials would use these redesigned funding mechanisms as screws to be tightened at any time—including in the middle of a recession or some other time when people are most in need.  This would leave states to pull from other essential state programs, cut the number of enrollees, cut benefits, cut provider payments, and/or raise state taxes.  Our website has more information on per capita caps and the importance of Medicaid and CHP for children.

And it is not only the threats to health care that will impact children and families.  The President’s budget slashes SNAP, TANF, and a whole host of safety net programs.  We will endeavor to keep you updated on the events in Washington as we digest emerging information and consult with our state and national partners.  Keep watching us for information and action steps over the coming weeks.

Finally, as the budget process shifts to Congress, we pose this question: Which members of Congress are going to come back to their districts and proudly share that they voted to take health care and food away from children?

Kate Breslin
President & CEO