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My patients — children, many on Medicaid — will suffer if health plan passes

The legislation would set my patients and their families up for a lifetime of poverty, lost income, and insurance discrimination.

I’m a doctor at a local children’s hospital. I am writing to oppose the health care plan being discussed in Congress, which proposes to make drastic cuts to Medicaid and let states change the rules that insurers must follow.

The thing about a children’s hospital is, nobody’s there because they “made bad choices.” We care for kids who are sick — many critically sick, many chronically sick or disabled — through no fault of their own. A bad roll of the genetic dice. A few unlucky moments around the time of birth. An infection in a bad site, at a bad time.

Forty-three percent of our patients get their insurance through Medicaid. Cuts to Medicaid and changes to insurance regulation such as annual and lifetime caps and loss of essential health benefits would mean the children I care for won’t be able to receive the care they need to survive and live the best, healthiest lives they can live.

Such cuts set my patients and their families (and remember, these are babies! toddlers! little kids!) up for a lifetime of poverty, lost income (because cuts to disability mean more parents staying home to care for a child instead of going to work), and insurance discrimination.

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I have kids of my own. I love them with white-hot, incandescent love. Every one of these children has someone who feels the same way about them. This bill is wrong for America and wrong for the children of Minnesota.

Dr. Robyn C. Reed, M.D., PhD., is a doctor at Children’s Minnesota; she speaks only for herself here.

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