Applauding health reform for America's children

Dr. Palfrey speakins during the Doctors for America event
Dr. Palfrey speaking during the Doctors for America event

Judy Palfrey, MD, made the following comments today at the Doctors for America event in honor of the impending passage of the nation’s health reform bill.

Good afternoon. I am Dr. Judy Palfrey, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). I have practiced pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital Boston for the past 35 years.

The AAP is a non-profit professional organization of 60,000 pediatric doctors who work tirelessly for children’s health and well-being. We are proud and honored to stand here today following last night’s historic vote on health reform!

The AAP’s highest priorities in health reform continue to be ACCESS to care, age appropriate BENEFITS in a medical home and COVERAGE for all children in the United States.

This reform greatly improves ACCESS to care based on workforce support and appropriate payment rates. The measure includes pediatric primary and subspecialty workforce improvements and for a first-time-ever federal commitment to bring Medicaid payment for  Evaluation and Management codes to the floor of 100 percent of Medicare. This is a great step forward.

This  reform provides age-appropriate BENEFITS in a Medical Home. All Bright Futures services—the definitive standard of pediatric well-child and preventive care—will be covered for children with private and public insurance as an immediate benefit for no co-pay. There is also a new commitment in Medicaid to help fund the medical home.

This reform ensures health care COVERAGE for children in the United States, including young people up to age 26.

Too many people have been hurting too much and waiting too long for this reform. We need only hear the story of  the DeWitts in Indianapolis. Matt and Jax, 2-year-old twins, were born prematurely and have had multiple health and developmental issues, including cerebral palsy. To care for the boys after their birth, Mrs. DeWitt had to leave her job… and lost her insurance. She has had to fight for nearly half a year to get on Hoosier Healthcare. Even with that, she still owes on her past medical bills and she has lost her house, her marriage and had to sell jewelry and other personal belongings just to keep the creditors from the door. No American family should have to suffer like this.

With health reform, we can make a difference for the DeWitts—and countless other hard-working Americans.

The House of Representatives’ important vote yesterday places us as a nation at the closest point we have ever been to providing comprehensive health reform to all Americans.

I am from Boston and follow the Marathon every year. When the runners come in sight of the Prudential Building, they know they need one last burst of energy to finish the race. The American Academy of Pediatrics urges the Senate to take a deep breath, take a sip of water and then run as if the lives of children and families depended on it…because they do. The finish line is in sight….let’s get this done.

If you have a moment, head over to Facebook and become a fan of the AAP.

Thank you.