Once in a while I hear critics of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — which some call Obamacare — say it’s bad for kids. I’m always flabbergasted by such talk because it’s blatantly unfair and untrue.
It’s been two years since the ACA passed, and while many of the law’s provisions have yet to kick in, there’s already concrete evidence that it’s been good for kids.
- Insurers must cover preventive services without cost-sharing. No co-pay provides an incentive for parents to get preventive care. The Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center on Health Insurance Studies estimates this affects more than 1 million children in Texas.
- Children must now be covered until they are 26 years old on their parent’s health plan. Even though critics have said this would add huge costs to employers, it hasn’t. Most employers were already covering children while they’re in college, and covering additional young adults — who tend to be healthy — is actually good for risk-pooling. It’s impossible to know how many people gained coverage because of this, but we do know the number of young Americans ages 19-25 lacking health insurance has shrunk by 2.5 million since this provision took effect.
- Children under 19 can’t be denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Who wants to see insurers turns down coverage for kids with asthma or diabetes? And yet, this provision, which had the best intentions has had negative consequences. Most insurers stopped selling child-only policies. But there’s an easy fix. Many states have instituted annual enrollment periods — like Medicare has for Part D drug plans — to make this market work for insurers.
- Insurers can no longer put lifetime limits on health benefits for children. This is especially important to children who face life-threatening conditions such as leukemia or hemophilia.
These are just a few of the ways the ACA helps kids. To read even more, download this fact sheet form First Focus, a DC-based bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. Click here.
Quote of the Week
“A 1964 government report, One Third of a Nation: A Report on Young Men Found Unqualified for Military Service, found an alarming 50% rejection rate among young men drafted into the military in 1962. Many of them were disqualified for physical and mental conditions that could have been effectively treated in childhood. Those findings helped spur Medicaid’s creation with its comprehensive benefits for children. Nearly 50 years later, Medicaid is a vital safety net, strengthened by the new health reform law to provide a stronger web of support and protection for children and families.” — Marian Wright Edelman, President of the Children’s Defense Fund.