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Colorado hospital, municipal leaders send letter urging senators to preserve medicaid coverage for children at all costs

The co-signers included Children's Hospital Colorado President and CEO Jena Hausmann, Colorado State House Majority Leader KC Becker.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

A group of 39 Colorado leaders, from municipal heads to hospital execs, sent a letter to Democratic Colorado senator Michael Bennet and Republican Colorado senator Cory Gardner urging them to preserve longstanding Medicaid coverage for children, according to Children's Hospital Colorado.

The co-signers included Children's Hospital Colorado President and CEO Jena Hausmann, Children's Board Chair Bill Lindsey, St. Mary's Hospital CEO Brian Davidson, Link Mills of the Pediatric Congenital Heart Association, as well as the Colorado State House Majority Leader KC Becker, numerous county commissioners and community stakeholders.

They argued that coverage for children predates Medicaid expansion included in the Affordable Care Act, but will be impacted by the American Health Care Act, and implored the Colorado senators to persuade congressional colleagues to ensure the final version of the GOP bill doesn't impact those benefits.

[Also: Senate GOP reveals healthcare bill to repeal and replace Affordable Care Act]

"...Division and polarization seem to be the most powerful forces shaping its deliberations. While there are legitimate and important differences of opinion about the proper course for healthcare reform, as leaders from around Colorado with diverse political viewpoints, we are writing to urge you in the strongest possible terms to resist the pull of polarization and find common values and objectives to drive toward together. For all our differences and divisions, there are areas of immutable agreement. At the top of that list is protecting the healthcare safety net for children," the authors wrote.

A major sticking point on the AHCA has centered around the threat of deleting Medicaid expansion, albeit over time, which could be catastrophic for tens of millions of americans. While the authors agree that the debate over Medicaid expansion is important, it shouldn't impact the government's commitment to ensuring healthcare for children, making them victims of the ACA repeal.

[Also: Children's Hospital Colorado handshake stewardship program yields 10.9 percent slash in antibiotic use]

"No one would deny that there are serious issues emanating from both the ACA and the proposed AHCA, but in passing new legislation, we urge you to not harm our country's historical commitment to provide a safety net for children's medical needs. The signers of this letter come from all sides of the ACA debate, but we stand united in supporting critical coverage for Colorado's children who need it most," the letter said.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn

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