Today President Obama signed into law sweeping changes to the health care system. As a press release
we put out yesterday explains, this is very good news for Texas and especially our kids, the children in the country who have been most vulnerable to going without health coverage.
"More than any other state, Texas stands to benefit from this reform legislation, which will meet the needs of so many,” our executive director said. "We are calling on state leaders to seize the opportunity this federal legislation provides to ... continue the gains in children's health coverage that state laws passed in 2007 helped to make possible.”
As we shared with our supporters on the Texas Finish Line Campaign email list, the reaons health reform benefits children, families, and Texas are myriad. The law:
"Makes coverage more affordable for middle class families by boosting their bargaining power through new health exchanges and providing tax credits to those who need extra help buying insurance; provides Medicaid coverage to [more] low-income families; continues the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which has successfully worked in partnership with Medicaid to drive down the number of uninsured children to its lowest level in over 20 years;. . . and allows parents to keep their college-age children (up to age 27) on their family health plans." (Georgetown Center on Children and Families)
"Guarantees access to health coverage for 32 million Americans including 95% of all children and prevents insurance companies from unjustly denying coverage." (Children's Defense Fund)
"Ends insurer discrimination against preexisting conditions for children…and provides families greater affordability, accessibility, and accountability." (Voices for America's Children)
"Cuts the federal deficit . . .and improves access to care by providing more federal funding to states that increase reimbursement to primary care physicians to treat children on Medicaid and CHIP." (Tarrant County CHIP Coalition)
"Bring[s] billions of dollars back to Texas each year through health insurance tax credits for middle-class and low-income Texans, and Medicaid coverage for our poorest citizens . . . and keeps in place our large and robust private insurance and health care delivery sector, while filling the gaps that have left too many Texans lacking care or overwhelmed by debt." (Center for Public Policy Priorities)
"Represents a giant win for all Texans, so we spend tax dollars more wisely and enable more than a million currently uninsured Texas kids to have coverage." (Texas Finish Line Campaign)
In other news, the Texas Tribune
reports that through 2019 states like Texas would be prohibited from "dropping kids off the Children's Health Insurance Program and Medicaid
" (state lawmakers did so as recently as 2003, during the last budget crisis). Also, KDFW picked up a report one one little-known provision in health reform that could help with the fight on child obesity:
chain restaurants with 20 or more locations and vending machines will begin displaying information about the calories and nutritional content in the food they sell. Voices
also notes the bill provides needed funding for "evidence-based home-visiting programs for at-risk families
. . .[which research has shown] improves a child's school readiness, health, and development, while also improving parenting skills, reducing child maltreatment, and decreasing the likelihood of future criminal activity."
If you want to thank the 11 Texas legislators who voted for the bill (Reps. Al Green, Rubén Hinojosa, Silvestre Reyes, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Charles Gonzalez, Ciro Rodriguez, Lloyd Doggett, Solomon Ortiz, Henry Cuellar, Raymond Green, and Eddie Johnson), and let Senators Cornyn and Hutchison know pending "fix-it” measures will make reform an even better deal for Texans, visit this link, which contains links to all their websites.