Repealing Obamacare without a replacement could be devastating to thousands of children and families in our state. That warning comes from child advocates who claim mental and behavioral counseling could be hardest hit.
Repealing Obamacare without a comprehensive replacement could leave some of Arizona’s most vulnerable without coverage, especially for behavioral-health services.
That was the message from a group of children’s advocates gathered in Phoenix on Wednesday.
The Affordable Care Act has significantly increased the number of insured children in Arizona. If repealed, the law could impact more than 270,000 kids, according to new numbers from the Urban Institute. That includes KidsCare, the state’s Medicaid expansion and the federal health exchange, all of which are directly or indirectly tied to the health-care law.
According to KTAR-News, “Foster families and children will lose the most if Obamacare is repealed without a replacement. Children’s Action Alliance head Dana Wolfe Naimark said the Affordable Care Act (ACA) covers mental and behavioral counseling for foster children and their families. If there is no ready replacement for the act — commonly referred to as Obamacare — she said foster children’s parents will have an even tougher time reuniting with them.”
“Parents can’t get the substance-abuse treatment they need when their kids are in foster care to get back on track and keep their families together,” she said.
An AzFamily.com report suggested that advocates believe repeal without replace could be disastrous for our state’s already overburdened foster care system.
Advocates said abolishing the health plan could overwhelm the foster care system in the state.
“Untreated mental illness can place children in unsafe situations,” said Rebecca Ruffner with Prevent Child Abuse Arizona.
Without health coverage, Ruffner said parents would not have access to treat their mental illness as well as drug and alcohol addiction.
“Addiction can overwhelm parental capacity to protect children and drug seeking takes,” Ruffner said.
Currently, there are more than 18,000 foster kids in Arizona.
Share your thoughts on whether you believe the concerns of child advocates are justified and what it will mean, in our state, if Obamacare is repealed without being replaced. Your input will help us as we look for new ways to help Arizonans in this time of uncertainty. The more we work together – the closer we get to our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!