Children and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Opportunities and Challenges in an Evolving System

  • David Keller
    Address correspondence to David Keller, MD, Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Children’s Hospital Colorado, 13123 E 16th Ave, B065, Aurora, CO 80045.
    Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Aurora, Colo
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  • Lisa J. Chamberlain
    Department of Pediatrics, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, Calif
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      The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), passed in 2010, focused primarily on the problems of adults, but the changes in payment for and delivery of care it fosters will likely impact the health care of children. The evolving epidemiology of pediatric illness in the United States has resulted in a relatively small population of medically fragile children dispersed through the country and a large population of children with developmental and behavioral health issues who experience wide degrees of health disparities. Review of previous efforts to change the health care system reveals specific innovations in child health delivery that have been designed to address issues of child health. The ACA is complex and contains some language that improves access to care, quality of care, and the particular needs of the pediatric workforce. Most of the payment models and delivery systems proposed in the ACA, however, were not designed with the needs of children in mind and will need to be adapted to address their needs. To assure that the needs of children are met as systems evolve, child health professionals within and outside academe will need to focus their efforts in clinical care, research, education, and advocacy to incorporate child health programs into changing systems and to prevent unintended harm to systems designed to care for children.


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      • Erratum
        Academic PediatricsVol. 14Issue 5
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          In the Perspectives article by Keller and Chamberlain (“Children and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Opportunities and Challenges in an Evolving System” Vol. 14 No 3, May/June 2014), the sentences “These interventions were expected to reduce the number of uninsured people in the United States from 52 million to about 26 million. An estimated 20 million of the remaining uninsured reside in the United States without documentation and would not be eligible to participate in the new exchanges.
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