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Critics: GOP Health-Care Plan Would Hit Florida's Children Hard

The most vulnerable rely most on programs such as Medicaid. (Virginia Carter)
The most vulnerable rely most on programs such as Medicaid. (Virginia Carter)
July 17, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- An effort is under way to convince lawmakers to become champions for children's health. President Trump has pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but advocates have been crying foul because they say it will hurt the most vulnerable Americans.

Dr. Jennifer Arnold, star of TLC's "The Little Couple," is with the group Speak Now for Kids. She said 30 million children rely on Medicaid, which would be on the chopping block under the proposed GOP health care plan. And many of those kids have complex medical needs such as disabilities, cystic fibrosis, congenital heart disease and cancer.

"Regardless of family income, parents rely on Medicaid and CHIP to be able to afford the complex medical needs of their children, who will potentially be impacted to lose that coverage and then ultimately put their health at risk,” Arnold said.

According to Arnold, the children's hospitals that serve these kids might not be able to stay afloat if there are cuts to Medicaid, and lawmakers need to think of them when they're debating what to do about health care in this country. She said hospitals located in large metropolitan areas could be the only ones able to remain in business.

"Families will have to travel further to get access to care,” Arnold said. "The care may not be as good or available and we may not be able to train as many pediatricians because we have less funding for pediatric trainees."

Children make up nearly half of Medicaid enrollees, yet account for only 19 percent of costs. Arnold said Medicaid supports children's growth by meeting their developmental needs, and gives them access to preventive care that reduces health problems in the future, which ultimately keeps costs down.

More information is available at ChildrensHospitals.org.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - FL