By: Thomas K. McInerny, MD, FAAP, president, American Academy of Pediatrics
“Today, our federal government shut down, and millions of children and families face an uncertain future as a result. As long as the government is shut down, no additional federal funds are available for WIC, Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education, research grants, Head Start, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s seasonal influenza program, new clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health and key safety activities at the Food and Drug Administration. These programs are essential to the health and well-being of our nation’s children and families. Any suspension of their services scales back the reach of their impact and puts children and families at risk.
“The shutdown will not impact the launch of the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period, which kicks off today and will allow parents, families and children to enroll in health insurance that meets their needs. It is troublesome that the debate over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has led to a government shutdown. Pediatricians are dedicated to helping parents understand the options available to them and their children as implementation continues.
“With nearly one in five children living in poverty, today’s inaction by Congress significantly harms the most vulnerable families. Our children deserve better than this. Pediatricians are dedicated to doing everything we can to urge Congress to prioritize children’s needs in the budget.”