Federal Advocacy

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October 10, 2018

TPS Joins Other Concerned Organizations Expressing Opposition to Public Charge Rule Change

“As pediatricians who care deeply about the health and well-being of all children in Texas we are extremely concerned about the effects of the recently released proposed public charge rule. Sowing fear among Texas families – one quarter of our children live in families with an immigrant parent – could cause countless numbers to drop or refuse participation in Medicaid, CHIP and SNAP. This fear will have direct impacts on our children’s health including, but not limited to, reduced immunization rates, fewer moms receiving prenatal care, and less adequate nutrition for families who rely on SNAP. This is not the future we want for our children.”

 --Dr. Ben Raimer, President, Texas Pediatric Society, The Texas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics 

 

Federal “Public Charge” Rule Threatens Health Care, Food, and Housing Access for Immigrants in Legal Immigration Pathways; families of up to 26 Percent of Texas Children may be affected

Concerned Texans announce effort to oppose dangerous rule change

Today, the Trump Administration’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) took a new step that could affect millions of Texans—including over 1.6 million U.S. citizen children—who may go without needed health care, food, and housing out of fear that meeting those needs will prevent a family member from receiving a visa to enter the U.S. lawfully or earning a Green Card. The proposed change to a little-known but critically important federal rule would be a deeply harmful, massive re-structuring of longstanding U.S. immigration policy.

Under current rules, immigrants can lose their ability to gain permanent resident status only if they are entirely dependent on cash assistance benefits (referred to as a “Public Charge”) or long-term care in an institution.

Now the federal government wants to also disqualify immigrants from the legal immigration process if that individual immigrant lawfully uses Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), housing assistance, or sliding-scale “Extra Help” assistance for low-income Medicare beneficiaries’ medication costs.

Of equal concern, the proposed rule would also strongly prejudice immigration pathways toward higher-income people, and raise new higher barriers to gaining a documented immigration status for prospective immigrants who have lower incomes, a chronic or serious illness, or a disability.

In addition, by circulating earlier draft rule versions, and suggesting now that future Department of Justice rules may amplify the impact of this proposed DHS rule, the federal administration has sown fear among Texas families that include immigrants, causing untold numbers to drop or refuse Medicaid, Children’s Health insurance Program (CHIP), and SNAP for US citizen children and family members. This confusion and fear may take years to reverse, resulting in reduced immunization rates, fewer women receiving prenatal care, less adequate nutrition for pregnant women, new mothers, infants and children, and delayed access to medically needed care for children and intervention services for children with developmental delays.

The new proposed rule would also dramatically reduce the ability of low-income working parents to pursue lawful immigration pathways to get a Green Card, undermining the U.S.’ family immigration system without Congressional approval.

"This proposal would close the doors to hard-working new Americans who are critical to our Texas economy and our American tradition of family immigration and social mobility. Rumors about the rule have already frightened too many Texas families into dropping access to health care or food for their children, in hopes that foregoing basic needs is the price they must pay for their family’s ability to live together in the U.S. lawfully," said Ann Beeson, CEO of the Center for Public Policy Priorities.

The Texas organizations listed below join voices to oppose the proposed federal policy and to encourage other organizations and concerned Texans to speak out against this attack on Texas families. We call on the federal Administration to withdraw this harmful proposed rule.

To read additional statements from many of these organizations, click here.


TPS Asks Texas' Senators to Support the Reach Every Mother and Child Act

September 27, 2018

On behalf of the 3,900 pediatrican members of the Texas Pediatric Society, the Texas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, President, Dr. Ben Raimer sent letters to Texas Senators Cornyn and Cruz asking for their support of the Reach Every Mother and Child Act, Senate 1730. While our mission is to do all in our power to advocate for the health and wellbeing of Texas children, Dr. Raimer urged our Texas congressional delegation to extent the same love and compassion we provide to our own to all children across the globe. 

The Reach Every Mother and Child Act is an important step in eliminating preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths throughout the world by supporting other countries’ ownership, transparency and accountability and sustainability financing so that they may learn, with our help, to become more self-sufficient.

While we’ve made incredible global progress reducing maternal and infant mortality rates, we still have work to do as:

  • About one million newborns die on their very first day of life from causes that are almost entirely preventable.
  • Nearly 300,000 women die annually due to complications during pregnancy or child birth.
  • Malnutrition contributes to approximately 45% of deaths among children under the age of five; this amounts to three million children’s lives lost each year.
  • The poorer the household, the greater the risk of maternal death, with 99% of the maternal deaths occurring in the developing world.

Read the letters to Senator Cornyn and Senator Cruz here. For more information about the Reach Every Mother and Child Act visit the American Academy of Pediatrics' website on Global Child Health here.


Opposition to Separating Immigrant Children and Parents

May 5, 2018

Today, the American Academy of Pediatrics is leading a day of action to oppose the separation of immigrant children and parents at the border.

Please join us and other national advocacy, health and medical groups; when we speak together with one message, on one day, Congress listens.

The Issue

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been forcibly separating children from their parents as they cross the U.S. southern border. This harmful, ineffective practice has been justified as a way to deter families from migrating to the United States. The New York Times estimates that nearly 700 children have been separated since October, including 100 who are under the age of four.

The AAP is opposed to this practice. Today, AAP President Colleen Kraft, MD, MBA, FAAP, was published in the Los Angeles Times explaining what she saw during her recent trip to the border and how this practice is already impacting children.

Prolonged exposure to serious stress - known as toxic stress - can harm children's developing brains and their short- and long-term health. As we learned during Hurricane Katrina when children were rescued and placed in different shelters from their parents without contact for prolonged periods of time, one of the most stressful events that can happen to a child is to be separated from his or her parent. 

Today, a San Diego federal court judge will hear directly from lawyers representing parents who have been separated from their children and are often unable to make regular contact with them as they are kept apart in federal custody. Several pediatricians submitted affidavits in this case, challenging the government's actions and sharing their own perspectives on the toll such separation takes on children.

Tell Congress to protect children's health and demand an end to the separation of children and parents.

Two ways to join tomorrow's Day of Action:

  • Call your federal legislators and urge them to oppose the separation of children and parents at the border. Urge them to tell DHS to immediately end this practice once and for all.
    • You can call the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be connected to your two Senators and Representative. We've included talking points to guide your outreach. If you would prefer to contact the offices via email, you can do so here.
  • Share messages on social media using #ProtectFamilies to help explain the toll such a practice takes on child health. Sample messages are below:
    • Separating children from their parents at the border as they arrive seeking safe haven, which the federal government is currently doing, is cruel, inhumane and harms children's health. We must end this practice once and for all.  #ProtectFamilies
    • .(@handle of U.S. Senator or Representative), I am a pediatrician in (state) and I am dedicated to the health of ALL children. Please oppose the practice of separating children from their parents at the border. @AmerAcadPeds has spoken out against it because it harms children's health. Today I join them. #ProtectFamilies
    • .(@handle of U.S. Senator or Representative), more than 200 organizations signed a letter demanding that the Department of Homeland Security #ProtectFamilies and end the practice of separating children from their parents at border. Please join us. https://www.theyoungcenter.org/stories/2018/1/16/experts-oppose-plans-to-take-children-from-parents-at-border
    • Highly stressful experiences, including being separated from a parent, can harm children's developing brains and their overall health, which is why I oppose the forced separation of children and their parents at the border. We must #ProtectFamilies, not tear them apart.
    • I stand with @AmerAcadPeds and @AAPPres, who wrote in the @latimes that the government must #ProtectFamilies, not tear them apart. We must stop separating parents and children when they arrive here seeking refuge: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-kraft-border-separation-suit-20180503-story.html

Talking points

  • Hello. My name is {insert name}. As a constituent and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, I urge {insert Representative's/Senator's name} to oppose the separation children and parents at the border.
  • Please tell the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to immediately end this practice once and for all.
  • Children do not immigrate, they flee. Parents will continue to flee violence to protect their children and themselves and seek safe haven in our country.
  • Studies overwhelmingly demonstrate the irreparable harm to children caused by separation from their parents.
  • As children develop, their brains change in response to environments and experiences. Highly stressful experiences can disrupt the building of children's brain architecture. Prolonged exposure to serious stress - known as toxic stress - can harm the developing brain and harm short- and long-term health.   
  • A parent or caregiver's role is to mitigate stress. Family separation robs children of that buffer, which can lead to toxic stress, impair brain development and learning and contribute to chronic conditions like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and heart disease.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly opposes the separation of children and parents. As a pediatrician, I am urging {insert Representative's/Senator's name} to do the same and tell DHS to immediately end this practice.

 


Ongoing CHIP Advocacy Needed!

January 1, 2018

This week marks 100 days since Congress failed to extend full funding for the successful, bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides 9 million U.S. children and pregnant women with comprehensive and affordable health care coverage.

Since CHIP funding expired on September 30, 2017, Congress has only managed to enact temporary, inadequate funding patches, delivered at the last possible moment with no comprehensive relief or assurance to states. This has manufactured an emergency with real consequences for children, families and pregnant women, and for the states, which operate CHIP programs. In fact, states are already notifying families that they may not have a source of health coverage for their children, should Congress fail to enact a long-term extension of CHIP funding.

How you can help:

Join the nation’s leading children’s health, medical and advocacy organizations in a day of action on January 10th to help #SaveCHIP:

  • Using this toolkit, call your federal legislators at (877) 233-9025 and tell them to immediately fund CHIP for five years. Congress votes on January 19th to fund the federal government; long-term CHIP must be included when they do.
  • Using this toolkit, share messages on social media using #SaveCHIP. Access state data, key messages and other resources to share, or develop your own!
  • Tell your colleagues, neighbors and friends to join you! The more advocates speak out about the importance of CHIP on the same day at the same time, the more members of Congress will listen

What families and states need is stability, and what they’ve gotten instead from congressional inaction is uncertainty. Please join us in raising your voice as part of our day of action to #SaveCHIP! Together we can make a difference for children, families and pregnant women across the country.


Federal Action Alert:

Tell Congress to Renew MIECHV (Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program)

October 26, 2017

Dear TPS Member,

While reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is very much at the top of our federal advocacy agenda, we also wanted to draw your  attention to one area that has remained largely outside of the spotlight of late.
 
We are calling on you to join us TODAY, Thursday, October 26th, in a Day of Action to reauthorize the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program. Funding for vital home visiting programs that prevent child maltreatment and strengthen families is at stake, and Texas pediatricians can help keep these programs alive. In late September, Congress allowed MIECHV funding to expire, but there is hope to pass a bill before year’s end. Without MIECHV, families across the nation could lose access to evidence-based and proven home visiting services.

What is MIECHV and why is it important?

Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting provides federal funding to states for evidence-based home visiting programs that have continuously demonstrated:

  • Improvements in maternal and newborn health, school readiness and achievement, family economic self-sufficiency, and coordination and referral of community resources; and
  • Reduction in child injury, maltreatment, crime, and domestic violence.

In Texas alone, these federal dollars have helped the Texas Home Visiting Program leverage federal funds to increase local investments in home visiting, expand services to six new communities, and provide a robust, statewide training program. You may be familiar with Texas Home Visiting programs such as:

  • Nurse-Family Partnership
  • Parents as Teachers
  • Early Head Start
  • Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY)

For more information about MIECHV, visit homevisitingcoalition.com and be sure to check out the Texas Fact Sheet

What can Texas pediatricians do to make their voices heard?


TODAY, Thursday, October 26th, participate in the MIECHV Day of Action for Texas Pediatricians by telling congress to extend the MIECHV program for 5 years with incremental funding increases to ensure home visiting programs remain effective, are able to expand, and continue to provide stability for families. Tell Senators Cornyn and Cruz and your Representative to support S1829, a bipartisan bill that will reauthorize MIECHV. If you refer to these vital services, share your story.

  • Call or email your Congressional Delegation! Follow the script below or use this handy tool, both provided by the Home Visiting Coalition:
    • Please support the reauthorization of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program. It works for families and children across our nation. This crucial program is set to expire on September 30, 2017. Our families and children cannot afford for MIECHV to expire. We urge you to support the timely reauthorization of MIECHV. Since 2012, families across the 50 states, D.C. and five territories have received more than two million evidence-based home visits supported through the MIECHV program. Families, voluntarily partner with highly trained professionals who provide personal support from pregnancy through their children’s first five years of life. These voluntary evidenced-based home visits which MIECHV funds, have been shown to improve family outcomes, including child health, economic self-sufficiency and educational attainment for both the mother and child. Thank you for your support in reauthorizing MIECHV and your commitment to the well-being of all of our nation’s children. We are honored to partner with you and look forward to working together to improve the lives of children and families.
    • Add a patient story to this script if you have worked with families who have benefited from home visiting.​​
  • Tweet members of Congress! Use the hashtag #RenewMIECHV and feel free to use these sample tweets prepared by the Home Visiting Coalition:
    • Dear @memberofcongress children & families are counting on you to #renewMIECHV now.
    • Federal home visiting funding expired 2 weeks ago. @memberofcongress #RenewMIECHV now.
    • MIECHV is good for families, good for states & good for taxpayers. What are we waiting for? @memberofcongress #renewMIECHV
    • Every second Congress waits to #RenewMIECHV is a second closer to lost jobs & lost services. @memberofcongress act now!
    • The clock is ticking! @memberofcongress Please support bipartisan legislation to #RenewMIECHV now.
       
  • Pass this along to a colleague! Home visiting programs help numerous children and families in our communities. Every pediatrician has probably served at least one child who has benefited from a home visiting program.The future of Home Visiting Programs in Texas and across the nation is at stake, let Congress know that Texas pediatricians support these evidence-based programs. Please reach out via the contact information below with any questions!

Federal Action Alert:

Call Senator Cornyn and Cruz Tomorrow (6/22) to Protect Children's Medicaid!

June 21, 2017

Dear TPS Member - 

This is it. The US Senate’s “repeal and replace” bill is getting released for the first time tomorrow, and as far as we can tell it is still taking direct aim at children’s Medicaid by proposing caps on funding. Unfortunately, our own Senator Ted Cruz thinks the cuts to Medicaid haven’t gone far enough and wants more “flexibility.” “Flexibility” with less federal funding would force states to cut Medicaid eligibility, benefits, provider payments, or a combination of all three. This is unacceptable, and it’s our responsibility as pediatricians to speak up for the children who cannot speak up for themselves! That’s why, in conjunction with the American Academy of Pediatrics, we are calling all Texas pediatricians to call Senators Cruz and Cornyn tomorrow, June 22nd to let them know their bill must #KeepKidsCovered with absolutely no cuts or caps to Medicaid.

1. Call, call, call.

Tomorrow June 22nd, pick up the phone and call your two U.S. senators to urge them to protect Medicaid from cuts or caps in any bill they consider.

Here’s how: 
U.S. Senator John Cornyn: (202) 224-2934
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz: (202) 224-5922 


If you can’t get through, try the district office closest to where you live. You can find those local offices here.

  • If you have time, ask for a local meeting in the state. If you don’t have time to meet, say the following when you call:
    • Hello. I am pediatrician from Texas and a member of the Texas Pediatric Society and American Academy of Pediatrics. I am calling today to urge Senator [Cruz/Cornyn] to oppose any funding cuts or caps to Medicaid in your health care bill.
    • Medicaid covers children from low-income families and children with special health care needs. It’s a lifeline program for more than 3 million (state fact sheet) in our state.
    • I am deeply concerned with any proposal to cut or cap federal funding for Medicaid in any way. Doing so would shift costs to states, likely leading to enrollment and benefit cuts, and leaving children worse off.
    • Insert brief anecdote if you have one of a patient on Medicaid who would be impacted
    • Through Medicaid, children are guaranteed benefits that cover a comprehensive array of medically necessary services, including developmental, vision and hearing screenings. Pediatricians recommend these services because they help diagnose, treat and prevent complex conditions right away, saving money and lives. Capping Medicaid funding means these services could be rolled back or eliminated altogether.
    • In addition, Medicaid expansion allowed many previously uninsured parents to gain coverage, making them better able to care for their children. Any efforts to cap Medicaid funding or phase out Medicaid expansion would be devastating to children and their families.
    • Please protect children’s health care coverage and oppose any funding cuts or caps to Medicaid in any health care bill you consider.
    • Thank you for all you do for children.

2. Share your story.

Once you’ve called, share messages on social media to urge the Senate to keep Medicaid strong. Include the following hashtags in your tweets and posts: #DontCapMyCare, and #KeepKidsCovered.

AAP Handles to follow: @AmerAcadPeds@txpeds@AAPPres@DrRemleyAAP,

Handles for Texas’ U.S. Senators: @JohnCornyn, @SenTedCruz

Sample messages:

  • .@JohnCornyn, @SenTedCruz: Medicaid gives Texas kids a better chance for a healthy future. #DontCapMyCare
  • .@JohnCornyn, @SenTedCruz: I’m a pediatrician & my patients have one message: #DontCapMyCare. Keep Medicaid strong & #KeepKidsCovered!
  • Medicaid matters for children. @JohnCornyn, @SenTedCruz #DontCapMyCare. Protect Medicaid in your health care bill.

 Retweet the #KeepKidsCovered Test: https://twitter.com/AmerAcadPeds/status/874280467914264576

  • .@JohnCornyn, @SenTedCruz Does the health care bill pass the #KeepKidsCovered Test?
  • .@JohnCornyn, @SenTedCruz I am a pediatrician in Texas. Does the health care bill pass the #KeepKidsCovered Test?
  • Does the health care bill pass the #KeepKidsCovered Test @SenTedCruz and @JohnCornyn? Kids in #Texas need you to #PutKids1st.

3. Spread the word to colleagues.

All pediatricians are connected to Medicaid in some way. Be the leader in your community and send an email to your networks urging them to join you in taking action tomorrow. There is power in numbers, and the more touchpoints Senators receive from constituents and child health experts, the more likely the message gets through.

For any additional questions or feedback, please contact Clayton Travis, Director of Advocacy and Health Policy with the Texas Pediatric Society at Clayton.Travis@txpeds.org. It’s time to take a stand and protect Medicaid for our state’s children. Thank you for joining us at this critical juncture.

Sincerely,

Joyce Elizabeth Mauk, MD
President, Texas Pediatric Society 


Federal Action Alert:

Join us for two Days of Action on June 15th and 22nd

June 14, 2017

Dear Texas Pediatric Society Member –

The news around the US Senate’s “repeal and replace” bill isn’t getting any better. The bill, being crafted in secret, is still taking direct aim at children’s Medicaid by proposing caps on federal funding and leaving less children covered with narrower benefits. This is unacceptable, and it’s our responsibility as pediatricians to speak up for the children who cannot speak up for themselves!

That’s why, in conjunction with the American Academy of Pediatrics, we are calling all Texas pediatricians to join us for two Days of Action on June 15th and June 22nd. On these days, we want to muster as many pediatricians to engage with Senators Cruz and Cornyn to let them know their bill must #KeepKidsCovered with absolutely no cuts or caps to Medicaid.

1. Call, call, call.

On these two Days of Action, June 15th & again on June 22nd, pick up the phone and call your two U.S. senators to urge them to protect Medicaid from cuts or caps in any bill they consider.

Here’s how:

  • Find Senator Cornyn’s and Cruz’s office phone numbers here. Start with their DC office and if you can’t get through, try the district office closest to where you live. If you have time, ask for a local meeting in the state. If you don’t have time to meet, say the following when you call:
    • Hello. I am pediatrician from Texas and a member of the Texas Pediatric Society and American Academy of Pediatrics. I am calling today to urge Senator [Cruz/Cornyn] to oppose any funding cuts or caps to Medicaid in your health care bill.
    • Medicaid covers children from low-income families and children with special health care needs. It’s a lifeline program for more than 3 million (state fact sheet) in our state.
    • I am deeply concerned with any proposal to cut or cap federal funding for Medicaid in any way. Doing so would shift costs to states, likely leading to enrollment and benefit cuts, and leaving children worse off.
    • Insert brief anecdote if you have one of a patient on Medicaid who would be impacted
    • Through Medicaid, children are guaranteed benefits that cover a comprehensive array of medically necessary services, including developmental, vision and hearing screenings. Pediatricians recommend these services because they help diagnose, treat and prevent complex conditions right away, saving money and lives. Capping Medicaid funding means these services could be rolled back or eliminated altogether.
    • In addition, Medicaid expansion allowed many previously uninsured parents to gain coverage, making them better able to care for their children. Any efforts to cap Medicaid funding or phase out Medicaid expansion would be devastating to children and their families.
    • Please protect children’s health care coverage and oppose any funding cuts or caps to Medicaid in any health care bill you consider.
    • Thank you for all you do for children.

2. Share your story.

Every day the next two weeks, but especially on Days of Action (June 15th & June 22nd), consider sharing messages on social media to urge the Senate to keep Medicaid strong. Below are some sample messages and ways to look up your Senators on Twitter to mention them specifically. The main hashtag AAP and our partners are using for this effort is #DontCapMyCare, and #KeepKidsCovered is another hashtag to incorporate into messages.

AAP Handles to follow: @AmerAcadPeds, @txpeds, @AAPPres, @DrRemleyAAP,  

Handles for Texas’ U.S. Senators: @JohnCornyn, @SenTedCruz

Make sure to use .@ if you are beginning your tweet with the Senator’s Twitter handle, as indicated below.

Sample messages:

  • .@_____________: Medicaid gives Texas kids a better chance for a healthy future. #DontCapMyCare
  • .@_____________: I’m a pediatrician & my patients have one message: #DontCapMyCare. Keep Medicaid strong & #KeepKidsCovered!
  • Medicaid matters for children. @_____________ #DontCapMyCare. Protect Medicaid in your health care bill.

Retweet the #KeepKidsCovered Test: https://twitter.com/AmerAcadPeds/status/874280467914264576

  • .@_____________ Does the health care bill pass the #KeepKidsCovered Test?
  • .@_____________ I am a pediatrician in (state). Does the health care bill pass the #KeepKidsCovered Test?
  • Does the health care bill pass the #KeepKidsCovered Test @_____________ and @_____________? Kids in #Texas need you to #PutKids1st.

3. Spread the word to colleagues.

All pediatricians (and even other physicians/health care professionals) are connected to Medicaid in some way. Be the leader in your community and send an email to your networks along the lines of what’s below, urging them to join you in these Days of Action (June 15th & June 22nd). There is power in numbers, and the more touchpoints senators receive from constituents and child health experts, the more likely the message gets through.

Dear colleagues:
 

As a member of the Texas Pediatric Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics, I have been asked to engage in two Days of Action to protect Medicaid on June 15th and June 22nd. The Senate is considering a health care bill as we speak that could be introduced any day and passed by the fourth of July recess. Since the process has not been transparent, we don’t yet know the final bill they’re proposing, but what we do know is that Medicaid is at risk, and now is the time to speak out.

Please join me in these two days of action to call your U.S. senators and urge them to vote “no” on any proposal that cuts or caps Medicaid funding in any way. Doing so would jeopardize the way the program works now to effectively cover 37 million children, and would leave children and families worse off.

Senator Cornyn’s and Cruz’s office phone numbers here and below is a sample script. Start with their DC office and if you can’t get through, try the district office closest to where you live. If you have time, ask for a local meeting in the state. If you don’t have time to meet, say the following when you call:

  • Hello. I am pediatrician from Texas and a member of the Texas Pediatric Society and American Academy of Pediatrics. I am calling today to urge Senator [Cruz/Cornyn] to oppose any funding cuts or caps to Medicaid in your health care bill.
  • Medicaid covers children from low-income families and children with special health care needs. It’s a lifeline program for more than 3 million (state fact sheet) in our state.
  • I am deeply concerned with any proposal to cut or cap federal funding for Medicaid in any way. Doing so would shift costs to states, likely leading to enrollment and benefit cuts, and leaving children worse off.
  • Insert brief anecdote if you have one of a patient on Medicaid who would be impacted
  • Through Medicaid, children are guaranteed benefits that cover a comprehensive array of medically necessary services, including developmental, vision and hearing screenings. Pediatricians recommend these services because they help diagnose, treat and prevent complex conditions right away, saving money and lives. Capping Medicaid funding means these services could be rolled back or eliminated altogether.
  • In addition, Medicaid expansion allowed many previously uninsured parents to gain coverage, making them better able to care for their children. Any efforts to cap Medicaid funding or phase out Medicaid expansion would be devastating to children and their families.
  • Please protect children’s health care coverage and oppose any funding cuts or caps to Medicaid in any health care bill you consider.
  • Thank you for all you do for children.

In addition, here are some sample social media posts for you to consider sending out on June 15th and June 22nd using #DontCapMyCare.

Handles for Texas’ U.S. Senators: @JohnCornyn, @SenTedCruz

Sample messages:

  • .@_____________: Medicaid gives Texas kids a better chance for a healthy future. #DontCapMyCare
  • .@_____________: I’m a pediatrician & my patients have one message: #DontCapMyCare. Keep Medicaid strong & #KeepKidsCovered!
  • Medicaid matters for children. @_____________ #DontCapMyCare. Protect Medicaid in your health care bill.
 

For any additional questions or feedback, please contact Clayton Travis, Director of Advocacy and Health Policy with the Texas Pediatric Society at Clayton.Travis@txpeds.org. It’s time to take a stand and protect Medicaid for our state’s children. Thank you for joining us at this critical juncture.

Sincerely,


Joyce Elizabeth Mauk, MD
President, Texas Pediatric Society 


Federal Action Alert: Protect Medicaid!

June 8, 2017

Dear Texas Pediatric Society Member –

It’s now or never to protect children’s access to Medicaid in our state. The U.S. Senate is set to rollout their version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) or “repeal and replace” legislation in the coming days. All indications point to maintaining the devastating cuts to Medicaid from the House in the form of block grants or per capita caps. This is unacceptable and would severely limit Texas children’s access to this vital program and put our state in a financial bind with less federal contributions to the program.

At 91%, we are at an all-time high of coverage for children in our state, and we cannot afford to lose ground.  We are calling TPS members to action to help bring awareness to this critical issue. Below is a sample email you can send to both Senators Cornyn and Cruz. In addition you can find more opportunities to engage on this issue via social media and crafting op-eds via the AAP’s Protecting Children’s Coverage: An Advocacy Toolkit for AAP Members, Leaders and Chapters Advocacy Toolkit.

SAMPLE EMAIL:

----------------------------------------------------

Dear Senator {Cornyn or Cruz}:

As a pediatrician, a constituent, and a member of the Texas Pediatric Society, The Texas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, I urge you to preserve the gains made in children's health care coverage and ensure this coverage is comprehensive, affordable, and accessible for children and families.

Today, the number of children with health insurance in Texas is at an historic high of ninety-one percent. This progress was made possible by Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and the Affordable Care Act working together.

Proposals to cap and cut Medicaid are detrimental to children and families across the country. I am deeply concerned with any proposal that would cut federal funding for Medicaid. Such a federal cut would shift costs to states and likely lead to enrollment cuts, meaning less coverage for those who need it most: children with special health care needs and those from low-income families.

Children are not just little adults; they have unique health needs, and access to affordable, high-quality health coverage is essential to keeping children of all ages healthy. Through Medicaid, children are guaranteed benefits that cover a comprehensive array of child-specific medically necessary services, including developmental, vision, and hearing screenings.

In addition, the bill allows insurers in states that seek waivers to return to the practice of discriminating against those with pre-existing conditions, effectively denying coverage by charging them unaffordable premiums, which would leave millions of people who need care unable to get it.

Please keep the needs of America's children at the forefront as you consider changes to our health care system. I urge you to reconsider moving forward with proposals that will move health coverage for children backward. Please oppose any policy that would fundamentally alter Medicaid and leave children worse off.

Thank you for all you do for children in our state and across the country.

--------------------------------------------------

Contact information:

https://www.cornyn.senate.gov/contact

https://www.cruz.senate.gov/?p=form&id=16

Thank you for advocating for our Texas children!


Call to Action on Insuring Kids

May 3, 2017

The Texas Pediatric Society leadership was in Chicago March 9-12 for the AAP Annual Leadership Forum. Time was dedicated to discussing the impact on children of the recently released American Health Care Act (AHCA) or the “GOP repeal and replace bill”.  We have great concern and need your help to protect the children of our state.

The American Health Care Act proposes drastic changes to Medicaid, and this stands to significantly impact children, especially children in our state.   Medicaid provides health coverage for more than 3 million children in Texas, yet children are not even mentioned in the proposed AHCA bill.  Although children constitute approximately 70% of individuals covered by Texas Medicaid, they account for only 30% of expenditures.   The American Health Care Act proposes drastic changes to Medicaid, including an $880 billion cut in funding over 10 years.

At 91%, we are at an all-time high of coverage for children in our state, and we cannot afford to lose ground.  We are calling TPS members to action to help bring awareness to this critical issue.  We are specifically providing 3 ways for you to help us advocate for Texas children.

  1. Please submit this letter to the editor to your local paper.
  2. Please call your U.S. Senator and Representative asking them to protect Medicaid and ensure children remain insured. (Talking points for call)
  3. Please send a letter (see example) to your U.S. Senator and Representative asking them to protect Medicaid and ensure children remain insured.

Two documents are provided by AAP for your use as background information and for sharing with your congressional representatives.

  1. AAP Federal Advocacy Medicaid Fact Sheet - Texas
  2. AAP-CCF Snapshot of Childrens Coverage - Texas Feb 2017

To find your personal congressional representatives: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx.

Please consider advocating for our Medicaid program by doing one or all the outlined action steps.  This is vitally important to the health of children in our state and to the health of our state in the long-term.  Please act today, act now.

Gratefully,
Joyce Elizabeth Mauk, MD, TPS President
Kimberly Avila Edwards, MD, TPS Chapter Chair
Mark Ward, MD, TPS Alternative Chapter Chair
Gary Floyd, MD, AAP District VII Vice-Chair
Oscar Brown, MD, AAP National Nominating Committee


TPS members in Washington

February 28, 2017

TPS members visiting Congress urging them to protect children’s health coverage by sharing three main messages – renew CHIP, keep Medicaid strong, and support consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act that benefit children.  Pictured (left to right):  AAP COFGA Intern Diogo Anyigbo, TPS Member Dr. Charleta Guillory, AAP President and TPS member Dr. Fernando Stein, TPS Member and AAP COFGA Dr. Jason Terk, and TPS Chapter President Dr. Kimberly Avila Edwards.

 

 

Federal “Public Charge” Rule Threatens Health Care, Food, and Housing Access for Immigrants in Legal Immigration Pathways; families of up to 26 Percent of Texas Children may be affected

Concerned Texans announce effort to oppose dangerous rule change

 

 

Today, the Trump Administration’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) took a new step that could affect millions of Texans—including over 1.6 million U.S. citizen children—who may go without needed health care, food, and housing out of fear that meeting those needs will prevent a family member from receiving a visa to enter the U.S. lawfully or earning a Green Card. The proposed change to a little-known but critically important federal rule would be a deeply harmful, massive re-structuring of longstanding U.S. immigration policy.

Under current rules, immigrants can lose their ability to gain permanent resident status only if they are entirely dependent on cash assistance benefits (referred to as a “Public Charge”) or long-term care in an institution.

Now the federal government wants to also disqualify immigrants from the legal immigration process if that individual immigrant lawfully uses Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), housing assistance, or sliding-scale “Extra Help” assistance for low-income Medicare beneficiaries’ medication costs.

Of equal concern, the proposed rule would also strongly prejudice immigration pathways toward higher-income people, and raise new higher barriers to gaining a documented immigration status for prospective immigrants who have lower incomes, a chronic or serious illness, or a disability.

In addition, by circulating earlier draft rule versions, and suggesting now that future Department of Justice rules may amplify the impact of this proposed DHS rule, the federal administration has sown fear among Texas families that include immigrants, causing untold numbers to drop or refuse Medicaid, Children’s Health insurance Program (CHIP), and SNAP for US citizen children and family members. This confusion and fear may take years to reverse, resulting in reduced immunization rates, fewer women receiving prenatal care, less adequate nutrition for pregnant women, new mothers, infants and children, and delayed access to medically needed care for children and intervention services for children with developmental delays.

The new proposed rule would also dramatically reduce the ability of low-income working parents to pursue lawful immigration pathways to get a Green Card, undermining the U.S.’ family immigration system without Congressional approval.

"This proposal would close the doors to hard-working new Americans who are critical to our Texas economy and our American tradition of family immigration and social mobility. Rumors about the rule have already frightened too many Texas families into dropping access to health care or food for their children, in hopes that foregoing basic needs is the price they must pay for their family’s ability to live together in the U.S. lawfully," said Ann Beeson, CEO of the Center for Public Policy Priorities.