Illinois Children’s Health Threatened by the American Health Care Act

June 02, 2017

As the U.S. Senate debates the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA), key findings in a report issued by Avalere Health indicate mounting evidence that child health would be threatened should Medicaid be changed as proposed in the current legislation. Nationally, children’s Medicaid would suffer a funding cut of $43 billion over 10 years under a per capita cap model, and as much as $78 billion over 10 years under a block grant.

“Federal support for the Illinois Medicaid program could be reduced by $1.7 billion under per capita caps from 2020-2026 for the nearly 1.5 million Illinois children insured by Medicaid. This will certainly impact the children we care for in our hospital every day,” said Patrick Magoon, President and CEO of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, the State’s largest hospital provider of pediatric Medicaid services in Illinois.

This Avalere report, which was developed in response to requests from policymakers, looks specifically at funding for non-disabled children and further details how the AHCA funding cut to Medicaid would be divided among the states.

If all states were to opt for a Medicaid block grant under the House-passed AHCA, Avalere finds the potential impact to children would be even more severe, swelling to $78 billion over 10 years. Under this scenario, states may opt to cut critical benefits for kids to reduce costs and/or impose cost-sharing that could impede children’s access to care.

“The findings demonstrate the critical need for further work to ensure that any Medicaid changes do not disproportionately impact children, our future,” said Magoon. “Significant cuts such as the one outlined above threaten states’ abilities to provide necessary health care to children.”

Avalere Health is a strategic health care advisory company.

Lurie Children’s is ranked as one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals in the U.S.News & World Report. It is the pediatric training ground for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Last year, the hospital served more than 198,000 children from 50 states and 51 countries.