Issues and Advocacy
CHAT Legislative Agenda
Medicaid is Vital to Children and the Providers that Serve Them
Without adequate funding, children’s hospitals cannot continue to provide services that children – those who need an organ transplant or heart surgery, or need treatment to cerebral palsy or spina bifida – desperately need. Of the more than 7 million children in Texas, almost half – 3.5 million children – receive their health care through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Because so many children in Texas are enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP, children’s hospitals are heavily dependent on these programs.
As discussion of Medicaid reform occurs at both the federal and state levels, protecting Medicaid for children helps ensure that they get access to appropriate health care. Early detection and intervention are the best ways to help kids get off to a good start. Children enrolled in Medicaid are more likely to attend school, graduate from high school and go to college, becoming healthier adults who will earn more and pay more in taxes than those children who do not have appropriate health care.
Keep Kids Healthy
Investments in sound public health policies are the first line of defense against preventable injury, disease and disability and the resulting medical care costs.
The leading cause of death for all teens in the United States is motor vehicle crashes. Drownings, accidental suffocations and child abuse continue to take a far too high toll on children. Texas and its local communities can reduce the loss of life, pain and suffering by improving injury prevention activities.
Immunizations that protect children against the dangers of vaccine-preventable diseases are one of the great successes of the medical care and public health systems in Texas. Death and disability from diseases like smallpox, polio, mumps and whooping cough have been reduced dramatically because of immunizations. However, vaccine-preventable diseases are a continuing threat in Texas. Strong, continuing efforts to maintain high immunization rates among children and to improve adult immunization rates are essential.
There is no risk-free exposure to smoke. Maternal exposure leads to higher rates of prematurity and childhood exposure results in higher rates of asthma and respiratory tract infections. Four out of five smokers start by age 18. Reducing exposure to secondhand smoke in all indoor workplaces will make a significant difference in the health of Texans and especially children.
Sadly, human trafficking is among the most lucrative criminal enterprises in existence today. Trafficking can involve school-age youth, particularly those made vulnerable by challenging family situations, and it can take a variety of forms including forced labor, domestic servitude, and commercial sexual exploitation.
All children should have health insurance that covers the comprehensive services that children need, from prevention to specialized care for the most complex problems, whether they are covered by public or private insurance.
Children’s Hospitals Provide High Quality Pediatric Health Care.
Children’s hospitals are the pediatric safety net for all Texas children and have unique services and expertise in the care of children. Children’s hospitals serve our state’s most ill children – specialized care that they cannot receive elsewhere for congenital heart conditions, neurosurgery, transplants, cancer and other serious conditions.
Texas has one of the fastest-growing child populations in the country. To meet the needs of our children, it is critical to build the clinical facilities and programs needed to serve our children, from primary care to the most advanced specialty services. Children’s hospitals are recruiting and training doctors, nurses and other pediatric providers to meet the needs of children as well as conducting research to improve and advance the efficiency and effectiveness of medical care.
State funding through Medicaid and CHIP as well as community support are essential to ensure that children’s hospitals can meet the growing needs and challenges in our state. Any child who needs the services available through a children’s hospital should be able to get that care.
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Issues and Advocacy Quick Links
- Prevention of Unintentional Injuries in Children In Texas
- 2019 Child Abuse and Fatalities
- 2020 Progress Report on Strategic Plan to Reduce Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities
- Texas Public Health Coalition
- Texas Drowning Prevention Alliance
- Just Drive!