Press Release

Contact: Ari Goldberg
Phone: 240-678-9102

Healthcare for Millions of Children in Jeopardy After House Vote

Federal Budget

WASHINGTON – Following the 217-213 vote in the US House of Representatives to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and replace it with the American Health Care Act (AHCA), millions of American kids and families will be negatively impacted if the bill becomes law.

Most important for children, the legislation includes fundamental and catastrophic cuts to Medicaid, which 38 million kids currently rely on for health services.

First Focus Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley said:

“It’s no exaggeration to call today one of the saddest days in our nation’s history when it comes to the health and well-being of American children, as the bill would roll back decades of progress. It violates the Hippocratic Oath, which is to ‘first, do no harm.’

At a time when Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have helped reduce the rate of uninsured children to the lowest number in American history — with more than 95 percent of children having some form of health insurance — the House approved a bill that would undermine this success by slashing $839 billion from the Medicaid program.

The House bill ends the popular, successful 50-year-old Medicaid entitlement as we know it through the imposition of arbitrary caps and threatens access for all Americans to affordable and meaningful health benefits like newborn services, pediatric services, maternity care, emergency care, mental health treatment, and medically necessary rehabilitative and rehabilitation services for children with special needs.

This bill is a direct attack on the 38 million children who rely on Medicaid for their health coverage — children make up more than 50 percent of the Medicaid population. It is also an attack on states who get shortchanged in the AHCA deal. With a cut of $839 billion and provisions to establish Medicaid per capita caps or block grants, states will have no choice but to ration care for our nation’s sickest and most vulnerable citizens by creating wait lists, cutting eligibility, benefits, services, and payments to providers.

“We are deeply disappointed that lawmakers who talk a good game about protecting children have turned their back on the most vulnerable Americans. We look now to the Senate to take up the mantle for kids and protect the guarantee of Medicaid as the legislative process moves forward.”


The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are a priority in federal policy and budget decisions.