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Senate’s “Better Care” Bill Will Reduce Access to Live-Saving Vaccines for Children and Families

Every Child by Two, as advocates for healthy children and families, is strongly opposed to the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. This bill would make deep cuts to Medicaid and leave people with higher costs and a patchwork of inconsistent unpredictable coverage that would fail to meet their basic needs. Simply put, this bill – like the American Health Care Act passed by the House – would make it more difficult for families to access health care, including life-saving vaccines.

We know that front-end investments in quality care and prevention can significantly reduce downstream health care costs. In addition to harming our nation’s most vulnerable citizens – children, the poor, and the elderly – this bill would likely lead to increased health care costs. Prevention opportunities, such as prenatal care (including immunizations provided during pregnancy), and early detection screenings will be missed as families attempt to access disjointed care.

First dollar coverage of vaccines, which ensures that families will be vaccinated without deductibles or copays, is at risk of being eliminated for some populations. Also, there is no planned replacement for the Prevention and Public Health Fund which under the Affordable Care Act provided 45% of immunization infrastructure and program funding. This bill, combined with the proposed cuts in the President’s budget would eliminate nearly one-sixth of the monies CDC spends to support immunization efforts, from just over $606 million in 2017 to nearly $521 million in 2018. This cut of $85 million seems particularly ill-timed as the nation is grappling with outbreaks of measles, mumps, influenza and whooping cough.

Every Child by Two joins virtually every medical, hospital, and health advocacy organization in America in urging Senators to oppose this bill.

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Every Child By Two- Carter/Bumpers Champions for Immunization (ECBT) is a nonprofit organization committed to reducing the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases among families. Founded in 1991 by Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Former First Lady of Arkansas Betty Bumpers, ECBT plays an integral role in helping to set immunization bi-partisan policies and implement vaccination efforts that have lasting impact on the health of our nation. Visit our websites: www.ecbt.org and www.VaccinateYourFamily.org.

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