Report Shows Oregon Children at Risk of Losing Critical Health Coverage

Portland, Ore.  Governor Kate Brown directed the Oregon Health Authority and Department of Consumer and Business Services to analyze the effects that the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) would have on the lives of Oregonians. The report, released this afternoon, shows that fewer children would receive Medicaid and that federal funding to support critical health care coverage for kids would be reduced. 
These changes would mean that over 320,000 children in Oregon who rely on Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) are at risk of losing vital health care coverage that can make the difference between life and death. 
“There is no way to cut Medicaid without harming kids. We need to preserve Medicaid in its current form if we are to provide the most basic, humane health treatment for children and give them a chance for a healthy and successful future,” said Tonia Hunt, Executive Director of Children First for Oregon. “Without Medicaid, kids won’t be able to get health screenings, immunizations, check-ups and hospital stays. Those with special needs like autism, Down Syndrome and other conditions won’t get the special care they need.”
Oregon’s schools will be affected as well, putting the educational future of all Oregon's children at risk. Schools across the state are reimbursed by Medicaid for the health services and screenings they provide. In 2015, Oregon schools received $3.3 million in reimbursements from Medicaid for primary or preventive health services. Without these reimbursements, schools will either cut health services and screenings to kids or the state will have to pick up those dollars, taking money away from other vital services our communities need.  

Medicaid has a 50-year proven track record of helping children throughout their lives. With Medicaid, kids stay in school and have a better chance of completing college; teens have lower instances of drug and alcohol abuse and mortality rates are reduced; as kids grow into adults, they have greater income and wealth because of the early investment in their health. “This is the kind of future we want for our kids but that future is in grave danger,” concluded Hunt. 

Children First for Oregon is a statewide, nonprofit organization that improves the lives of children through publishing research, championing solutions, and empowering the community to advocate for kids.

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