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Child health advocates await Supreme Court decision


Societies around the world recognize child literacy and elementary education as human rights. It’s actually guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 24 of that Convention also guarantees the following:

“States Parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services.”

When the Federal Affordable Care Act went into effect two years ago, champions of child health care cheered. More children would be covered by their parents’ health insurance, preexisting conditions would be thrown out of the equation, among other issues child advocates had been fighting for. But almost immediately after its enactment, it came under fire from Republicans nationwide, and 26 states filed suits against the government claiming the law was unconstitutional because it mandates insurance coverage.

While the Supreme Court decides whether or not the law will stand, child healthcare advocates await that decision intently. Jamila Iris Edwards, Northern California Director for the Children’s Defense Fund, said her organization is discussing all options.

BABA: Have you talked about how you will proceed if the Affordable Care Act is struck down by the Supreme Court?

EDWARDS: Now, we’re trying to think back and wonder, what actual pieces will be in place? What will require new legislation? How do the changes in the primary process and having new folks in the legislature after June and people campaigning – how will that affect how California has been so supportive of healthcare reform? And what happens with the Supreme Court – how that will change things and what’s that gonna look like? It’s very, very scary and very daunting, and we’re trying to put positive energy out there and recognize that, even though there’s a lot to worry about, and it may not work, we are really hopeful in that our state’s administrative officials have said that they will just keep going, and that’s essentially what we’re holding on to.

Hana Baba is host of Crosscurrents, KALW's weeknight newsmagazine that broadcasts on KALW Public Radio in the San Francisco Bay Area.