(HONOLULU, HI – May 4, 2017) – The passage of the American Health Care Act by the U.S. House of Representatives will have a devastating impact on Hawaii’s children and families. Congress rushed this through before getting an independent analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. That means that our nation’s leaders and their constituents have no idea how much worse it’s gotten and how many more people will lose coverage.
At a minimum, we know that the bill decimates Medicaid, cutting more than $800 billion over 10 years, and resulting in at least 24 million more uninsured people within a decade. It will put many of our most vulnerable Americans at risk, including children, people with disabilities and pregnant women. And it places a cap on federal funding for Medicaid, blowing a hole in our state’s budget and local taxpayers to foot the bill. This arbitrary cap on Medicaid will put 145,323 of Hawaii's children in harm's way, including:
- 100% of children in foster care;
- 78% of children living in or near poverty;
- 39% of children with disabilities or other special health care needs;
- 38% of infant, toddlers and preschoolers; and
- 24% of newborns in low income families.
This measure also opens the door for insurers to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, putting kids with asthma, diabetes, heart defects and other conditions at risk. The recent addition of $8 billion to fund high-risk pools comes nowhere close to covering the cost of care for these kids and other people suffering from pre-existing conditions. The bill also rolls back the Medicaid expansion that has improved the financial stability for low income families in Hawaii.
Hawaii Children’s Action Network recently detailed how changes to Medicaid would harm our children and place additional pressure on our state budget.
We thank House Representatives Hanabusa and Gabbard standing up for children, seniors, people with disabilities, pregnant women, families, and those with pre-existing conditions whose lives are at risk if this bill becomes law. And we’re counting on Senators Hirono and Schatz to work with their colleagues in the Senate to protect Medicaid.
About the Hawaii Children’s Action Network
The Hawaii Children’s Action Network (HCAN) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-partisan organization. It is the only nonprofit in the state solely committed to educating and advocating for children. For more information, visit www.hawaii-can.org.