Advocacy Update January 2022

Legislative Victories & More Work to Do!

First a Quick Look Back
We succeeded in getting our priority legislation signed. Thank you for your emails, your calls and advocacy actions. We have made New York a better and safer place for all of our children.
  • Child Poverty Reduction Act  Signed!
  • Safe School Drinking Water Act  Signed!
  • Family & Firefighter Protection Act  Signed!
Looking Forward: A First Look at the Governor’s Budget
Advocacy Day is March 15. 2022.  This year it will be Virtual.  Registration will be available shortly.  Save the date!
The State Budget so far looks pretty good for children, families and pediatricians. But there is more that needs to be done to really address the unmet and vital needs of New York Children and Families, especially the most vulnerable.
  1. 1.5% Medicaid Cut Reversed and 1% increase added on for a total 2.5% increase in Medicaid payments. But we are still very far away from parity with Medicare.
  2. Increased Eligibility for Child Health Plus families up to 233% of poverty will have access to CHIP with no premiums. The $9 copay is eliminated.
  3. Significant increases in school funding with dollars targeted to low income districts.  But we will need to follow the money to ensure that investments are truly made to the benefit of all students.
  4. Significant increase in childcare funding. Creating subsidies for 400,000 more families. But much more can and should be done. New York needs to create universal childcare. High quality, accessible and affordable infant and childcare must be available for all families. The initiative is not only important in supporting healthy early childhood development, it is also a vital component of NY’s recovery from the economic gut punch of COVID.
  5. Medicaid coverage through the first year post-partum for all women is included in the budget. But we need to work to assure that women have access to high quality, accessible and culturally competent care, so they can actually benefit from the coverage.
  6. Strengthen the Empire State Child Tax Credit to reflect the actual costs of raising children.  But it also must include children birth 0-4 which is often the time families need to most economic help and also include children through age 17. The current design is irrational. Why are our families with our youngest children locked out of vital economic supports?
What’s not in the budget that we support:
  1. Medicaid Coverage 0-3 for all infants eligible at birth. Consistent coverage in the first 1000 days of a child’s life is predictive of better health and social development in childhood and adulthood. Forcing new families to continually renew coverage most often leads to loss of coverage and loss of access to health care.
  2. Undocumented Workers’ Fund: Almost all low income families have suffered in the pandemic, but undocumented workers have not been eligible for federal financial support. The state must renew its state funded Undocumented Workers’ Fund to help these families struggling to overcome loss of income from loss of work.
  3. Children’s Mental Health Crisis Response:  Although there is some additional funding in the budget for children’s mental health, it in no way meets the current crisis. We will be proposing significant budget and policy investment to address the unmet needs of children who are stuck in emergency departments and hospitals because there are not services available. We will also be proposing investments in community and school based mental health services to meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of children who are experiencing mental health issues during these very challenging times.
This is just a first look at the budget and how it impacts children and families. But it should give you an idea of kinds of issues we will be working on this session. We will be producing more materials in the next few weeks which will highlight our budget and legislative priorities.