The National Association of Children’s Hospitals yesterday launched a grassroots mobilization campaign asking Congress and the Obama Administration to make health care reform work for children. The campaign is in partnership with many organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Defense Fund and Children’s Hospitals around the country, including ours.
The campaign Speak Now for Kids in Health Reform asks advocates to register online as champions for children’s health, express their priorities for children in health reform and upload testimonials about experiences with children’s health care coverage, delivery, quality and costs. Gathered data is then broken out by state, Congressional district and rolled up nationally to share advocates’ opinions.
The Government Relations team here at Children’s works with legislators every day to advocate for children on important health care issues. Current issues to raise at the forefront of the federal health care reform debate are quite simply that all children should have affordable and accessible health coverage, no matter where they live. Children are not just little adults. Their coverage should reflect their unique health and development needs. Most of the adult guidelines for conditions like obesity, asthma, and those that require physical therapy are inappropriate for a toddler or a child with a disability. One size does not fit all.
Adults and seniors do an excellent job advocating and having their voices heard on public policy that impacts them. For this reason, health care policy often solely addresses adult needs with the expectation that children’s health care needs will fit the same mold. We are uniquely positioned to give voice to the health care policy needs of children and remind our elected officials that policy reform must specifically address the health and social needs of children.
Please take three minutes to go to www.SpeakNowforKids.org and tell Congress that children’s health care is important to you. Whether it is access to care, coverage for all children, cost of insurance or co-pays or the quality of pediatric care – reach out and share your opinions. Then tell a friend and ask them to do the same.
Watch for more information on children’s advocacy from Children’s Hospital, including the mobilization of our own Children’s Hospital Advocacy Team, CHAT for Children, coming this summer!
–Michelle Mettner, vice president of Government Relations