Political Rhetoric Obscures Rational Dialogue on the Affordable Care Act and Its Benefits for Children

Originally posted by our friends at The Juvenile Law Center

The historic legal arguments for and against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) have concluded. The future of the ACA now rests in the hands of the United States Supreme Court. Tragically, the legal and political wrangling over the Act’s provisions has largely obscured the desperately needed benefits the Act provides to millions of American children. This is hardly surprising. With no political access of their own, children are the least likely among us to hear the echo of their voices in our country’s legislative chambers.

Whatever the outcome, the Affordable Care Act unquestionably has taken a bold step in taking seriously the medical needs and interests of America’s children.

The Act, in particular, helps youth transitioning to adulthood access insurance, allowing them to stay on their parents’ health care plan until age 26 and mandating that children aging out of foster care be covered by Medicaid until age 26. While young adults are particularly at risk of lacking health insurance, youth aging out of foster care disproportionately suffer from chronic health problems, making affordable access to continued and appropriate care central to their well-being and success.

Older foster youth who will be adopted—as states implement the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008—will also benefit by being able to remain on their parents’ plans until age 26.

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