As you work quickly with your Congressional colleagues to pass new legislation to address the devastating public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, the Children’s Defense Fund urges you to include in the next package a number of critical provisions to protect our nation’s children and families.
We joined other national child health groups to submit comments in response to the proposed 2021 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters. Overall, approximately one-half of all children are covered by commercial plans with more than one million children enrolled in Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) to date. Commercial coverage, whether through an employer plan or a QHP, must ensure that covered children have access to timely, affordable, high-quality and age-appropriate care that meets their unique developmental needs and enables them to meet their full potential as adults. Access to health care for children and their families is vital to long-term health, well-being and productivity.
This most recent rule rescinds regulations that were put in place “to improve service delivery and strengthen religious liberty.” Repealing these religious freedom protections is not a necessary step and does not reflect the will of the broader faith community. This NPRM will provide only a nominal benefit for some faith-based organizations receiving federal funds to provide social services. In doing so, however, it will put the religious liberty, safety and well-being of the beneficiaries of these social services at grave risk.
We joined other national child health groups to urge CMS to withdraw the proposed Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation (MFAR). If finalized, the MFAR would trigger insecurity and instability for state Medicaid programs and state budgets by injecting uncertainty into how states can finance the state share of their Medicaid expenditures, and how they pay providers.
The guidance issued by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) alters how Medicaid is financed by capping federal funding and offering states the option to use block grants and per capita caps for low-income adult populations, which includes parents with young children. When parents lose coverage, their children are more likely to lose coverage as well. Our organizations are united in opposition to any threat to Medicaid that would dismantle a pillar program millions of families rely on. At a time when child uninsurance is already on the rise, this guidance makes it even harder to guarantee children can get the care they need.
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A society must be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable—and most valuable—members: its children. The State of America’s Children 2020 makes it abundantly clear that by this measure, America is falling shamefully short.
CDF led an effort to garner support from nearly 400 national and state organizations across the country in support of the Family First Transition Act. This Act presents a bold plan to help states, tribes and territories meet the unique fiscal and statutory requirements of implementation. Once enacted, it will provide critical tools to help states, tribes and territories take advantage of the opportunities contained in Family First, so that more children and families can thrive.
CDF submitted comments on HHS's proposed rule on nondiscrimination protections for HHS-funded programs. Government-sanctioned discrimination is diametrically opposed to the cardinal rule of child welfare, that the best interest of the child is paramount, and, as such, it should never be allowed in the child welfare system. This rule would threaten the ability of the child welfare system to promote permanency for youth in care and will jeopardize the safety and well-being of children in foster care.
With this Section 1115 waiver approval, South Carolina becomes the first state in the nation to exclusively impose the harmful policy of work requirements on low-income parents with children. Children rely on healthy parents and caregivers to help them meet their health and developmental needs, and this waiver will make it harder for parents to be there for their children.
CDF submitted comments on USDA's proposed rule regarding SNAP Standard Utility Allowances (SUAs). The proposed rule would limit states' flexibility to set the SUA, resulting in a reduction in SNAP benefits for many hungry children and families across the country and exacerbating the struggles many low-income families have paying for both food and utilities. Given the disturbing and lasting impact this would have on children's food security, health and well-being, we urged the administration to withdraw this proposed rule.