Deficit Reduction Act 2006: Violating the Human Rights of Children


On February 1, 2006 the United States Congress passed the Deficit Reduction Omnibus Reconciliation Act (DRA) of 2006 by a very narrow margin, 216-214. This serves to undermine the right to health of children in this country. DRA slashes funding to Medicaid, the state and federal partnership that provides health coverage for selected categories of people with low incomes. DRA cuts Medicaid funding by $28.3 billion dollars over the next 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Reports that these cuts will disproportionately harm our nation?s most vulnerable citizens – poor children. The CBO reports that this bill will cut 110,000 people from Medicaid by the year 2015, 60% of them being children.

Alarming Changes to Medicaid in the DRA that Impede Access to Health Care for Children
? For the first time since Medicaid was enacted, premiums and copayments can be charged for children?s doctor visits, lab work and hospital stays. These seemingly small payments that are now required will have a large effect. The Missouri Social Services Department reported that in 2005 between February and December, due to newly instituted premiums, 98,853 people were dropped from the state Medicaid rolls and of that number 43,409 were children.
? All children, including those below the federal poverty line can be charged a copayment on a prescription drug if the drug is not on their state?s preferred drug list.
? Providers now have the ability to deny health care services to children whose families are unable to meet copayment or premium payments. 
? Applicants to Medicaid will now have to provide birth certificates, or passports to prove a child?s citizenship status in order to qualify for Medicaid benefits. There is no indication that the prior procedure of self-declaration was problematic.

DRA Violates the Human Rights of America?s Children

The United States ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and agreed to pursue the ideal that all American citizens would have the right to life, and therefore, health. The United States government enacted the DRA, and then days later proposed an additional $13.6 billion in cuts to Medicaid over the next 5 years in the proposed fiscal budget of 2007. The U.S. needs to make a concerted effort to move in the direction of securing health programs and human rights for more of its poor children, not limiting those who qualify for them.

Text has been truncated. For full publication text, download document.

Related Content