Along with our partner First Focus on Children and law firm Gibson, Dunn, and Crutcher, we are proud to have submitted a friend of the court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in California v. Texas, supporting the continuation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and highlighting the benefits it has extended to the nation’s children and young adults.
As an organization that advocates for health equity on behalf of children and their families, we understand the vital role the ACA has played in increasing access to health care for all. Improving health equity was, and continues to be, a central goal of the ACA, and should remain a central goal in the care of our children today, despite continued federal efforts to reverse our nation’s progress.
Through the ACA, children have reaped the benefits of free preventive services, enrollment simplifications, mandated essential pediatric health benefits (including oral and vision services), outreach and enrollment activities, and a host of benefits and protections to keep our most marginalized children covered, alongside the following landmark achievements:
- Creating a “welcome mat” for children by expanding coverage for their parents: increases in public health insurance eligibility for parents led to increased coverage for their children, even when the children were already eligible. Over 700,000 low-income children obtained coverage through these “welcome mat” effects.
- Opening more doors to coverage for children and adults with pre-existing health conditions, such as asthma and diabetes.
- Emphasizing preventive services, such as well-child visits, immunizations, and developmental screenings for children, by requiring coverage in most health plans with zero cost sharing.
- Prioritizing prenatal and early childhood care by establishing a home visiting program for pregnant mothers and those with young children in order to help them succeed.
- Allowing former foster care youth—an especially vulnerable population—to keep their public health insurance (usually Medicaid) until they turn 26, and similarly allowing young adults to remain on their parents’ health insurance policies until they turn 26. By early 2016, over 6 million young adults gained health insurance as a result of these provisions.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, this increased access to health coverage has saved the lives and economic security of vulnerable children and families. It is never the time to take away the health coverage of millions of our most marginalized children and families—but this shared crisis has made ever more clear the importance of basic necessities like health care.
Read more in our joint press release with First Focus on Children here.
Read the filed brief here.