Our congressional leaders face a rare opportunity to course-correct in a way that directly saves lives.
With all the debate about health care reform and the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA), our representatives can ensure our most precious resource the health of our children is a priority. In making choices about the allocation of health care funding, it is critical we don't lose sight of our children and youth. While they represent a small share of the nation's health care expenditures relative to adults, children's access to appropriate services is critical for their development and for the future of our country.
The Medicaid program, enacted in 1965, and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which was enacted thanks in great part to the leadership of Utah's Sen. Orrin Hatch in 1997 dramatically improved health care for children. These programs provide critical access to care for more than 45 million lower-income children and adolescents across our country and more than 200,000 of these children live in Utah. As a result of these programs, from urban centers to rural areas, the rate of uninsured children across our state dramatically decreased from 14 percent in 1997 to 5 percent in 2016, leading to significantly improved health outcomes.