Voices’ Policy Director and Campaign for Children’s Mental Health Coordinator Margaret Nimmo Crowe wrote the following blog post for Pundits’ Podium, the new blog of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, on 3-21-12. You can find the blog online.
This week marks the second anniversary of President Obama signing into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). We have certainly been inundated with political views about this law here in Virginia. What you may not know is that ACA is a huge health victory for kids. Here are a few of the ways it improves access to health care for children:
ACA preserves and extends SCHIP (which in Virginia goes by the acronym FAMIS) through September 30, 2019. FAMIS provides health insurance coverage to low-income families whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to purchase coverage on their own. Having health insurance means kids are more likely to get preventive, well-child check-ups, which foster healthy development.
Kids can’t be denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions. This is great news for kids with chronic conditions like diabetes or mental health disorders.
Lifetime coverage limits (and starting in 2014 annual limits) on the dollar value of services will be eliminated– further good news for families of kids with chronic medical conditions.
ACA extends Medicaid for foster youth beginning in 2014; youth who have been in foster care for six months or more will have Medicaid coverage up to 25. Health insurance is another tool to help this extremely high-risk population make a successful transition to independence.
Grandparents raising grandchildren (or other relative caregivers) will be able to purchase child-only insurance through the new exchange. This will also help parents whose employers do not offer dependent coverage.
Better access to regular preventive care and necessary medical treatment means healthier kids. Healthier kids can reach their full potential. That sounds like a victory for everyone.