In addition to our top legislative priorities each year, we advocate for many other legislative efforts related to child and family health, equity, and well-being. We provide support and lend a pediatric perspective to partner organizations who lead on these efforts.
Our Early Childhood Committee works in tandem with our Legislative Committee to advance policies that focus on children’s first 5 years of life.
Bring pediatric Medicaid reimbursement to parity with Medicare rates
It has never been more clear that access to health care is crucial for children’s health and development. In Washington 1 in every 2 children relies on Medicaid for health coverage, but the low rates paid by Medicaid for pediatric care make it increasingly difficult for families to access care in many Washington communities. Bring pediatric Medicaid rates to parity with Medicare to improve access to care for Washington children and achieve better disease prevention, earlier diagnosis and treatment, and fewer emergency room visits.
Improve access to appropriate behavioral health care for children
Behavioral health disorders affect up to 1 in 5 children in a given year, yet 80 percent of those children affected go without treatment. This is a growing problem for children and teens, and has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Early diagnosis and evidence-based treatment is critical to help ensure healthy development and prevent problems at home, at school and with peers throughout childhood and into adulthood. Increase Medicaid rates for behavioral health in primary care and for behavioral health professionals to improve access to care; fund Washington’s Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens.
Ensure a healthy start for parents & babies: extend post-partum coverage
In Washington, Medicaid pays for pregnancy, delivery and 60 days post-partum care for pregnant individuals up to 198% of the federal poverty rate. An estimated 10,000 people lose their Medicaid coverage just 60 days after giving birth because they no longer qualify for coverage under current law. This leaves new moms at risk when they need access to care to recover from complications, receive timely identification and support for behavioral health problems, and form strong bonds with babies.
End the dangerous vaping epidemic
Teen vaping is an epidemic, with nearly 6 million users ages 11-21, and the numbers of teens vaping is increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic. We can reduce harm by increasing the tax on vaping liquids commensurate with the tax on cigarettes; banning all flavorings in e-cigarettes/vape products, including menthol; and re-apportioning tax revenue from e-cigarette sales to include prevention and enforcement of age restrictions on purchase.