Pediatricians Lead Charge to Build a Healthier Future for America’s Children

Blueprint for Healthy Children

Hats off to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for its efforts to create a healthier, happier, safer future for America’s children. At a panel discussion this week moderated by Dr. Richard Besser of ABC News, AAP leaders unveiled the “Blueprint for Children: How the Next President Can Build a Foundation for a Healthy Future.” Panelists included AAP President Dr. Benard P. Dreyer,  Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha (the pediatrician who led efforts to help children impacted by the Flint water crisis), America’s Promise Alliance Chair Alma Powell and Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Senior Fellow Jared Bernstein.

CCF experts were happy to have had the opportunity to contribute to the ambitious effort and commend AAP for listening to a wide cross-section of thought leaders and stakeholders. They curated the best ideas into a thoughtful, visionary blueprint for the next President and Congress to consider. Several prominent organizations have endorsed the blueprint, including Zero to Three, America’s Promise Alliance, Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and Family Voices,

AAP leaders took a big picture approach and tackled the many issues that can impact children’s health including poverty, gun violence, global climate change and food insecurity. The blueprint calls for an expansion of programs such as the earned income tax credit, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program and others that provide families with adequate income, safe housing, affordable child care and access to nutritious food.

In the area of health care, the blueprint calls for affordable, high-quality health care for all children regardless of their immigration status. It points to the need for coverage with comprehensive, pediatric-appropriate benefits. The blueprint calls on policy makers to strengthen and renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and states that children covered through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces should receive comparable services to those covered by Medicaid and CHIP at the same reasonable costs. It outlines plans to improve team-based medical and mental health care delivered in a medical home incorporating Bright Futures guidelines and EPSDT services. It also contains a number of recommendations aimed at improving access to care such as addressing the disparity between Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates and offering loan repayment programs to pediatricians and subspecialists who work in underserved areas or care for a significant share of low-income patients. Finally, the document states that the next President should ”ensure that Medicaid and other key entitlement programs for children are not subject to payment caps, block grants, or other structural harms.”

I encourage you to take the time to read this blueprint for creating a brighter future for America’s children. Also, check out their “I Vote Kids” video.

Cathy Hope
Cathy Hope is the Communications Director at the Center for Children and Families