Making children’s health a national priority requires that we safeguard Medicaid and support the role it plays for children who rely on the program for health care coverage. Approximately 37 million children count on Medicaid for access to health care services to meet their needs. Cuts or changes to the Medicaid program, whether at the federal or state level, could potentially harm children’s access to health care. Keeping children covered is a national investment in their futures, helping them stay in school and grow to become healthy adults who contribute to the economy.
Access to well-trained pediatricians and pediatric specialists is critical to helping all children and especially those with complex medical and mental health conditions reach their full health potential. One piece of legislation before Congress that would help ensure an adequate pediatric workforce is the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program. CHGME provides federal funds to children’s hospitals to support the training of half the nation’s pediatricians and the majority of pediatric specialists. Without funding for CHGME, the supply of physicians with the specialized pediatric training will fail to keep up with the demand.
Even with CHGME program funding, pediatric workforce shortages in specialties such as developmental pediatrics, child and adolescent psychiatry, and pediatric genetics and genomics have emerged.
Medicaid matters to children’s health and supporting CHGME helps to ensure that all children have access to the best pediatric specialty care. Our lawmakers should make children’s health a national priority. The right policies can help our children lead healthy and productive lives.
Michael D. Aubin
President, Wolfson Children’s Hospital of Jacksonville