Paul S. Viviano, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles President and CEO: Graham-Cassidy Bill Would be Devastating to Kids and Their Families

Published on 
September 19, 2017

CHLA Joins Jimmy Kimmel’s Call to Action: Tell Your Senators to Vote ‘No’ on the Graham-Cassidy Bill

Statement from Paul S. Viviano, President and Chief Executive Officer
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

[Updated 9/19/2017, 11:20pm]

LOS ANGELES – Congressional leaders continue to launch efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In doing so, the plans developed for consideration all make fundamental and highly adverse changes to the longstanding Medicaid Program, which has served as the nation’s backbone of health care coverage for children for decades. The latest in these efforts is the Graham-Cassidy Bill, legislation that would dramatically cut the Medicaid program and undermine health coverage, benefits and access for more than 30 million children and youth.

This is a far cry from Senator Cassidy’s promise to ensure that any bill he supports passes the “Jimmy Kimmel Test.” Cassidy promised that this test would ensure that no child  would be denied medical care, emergency or otherwise, because they cannot afford it. Instead, the Graham-Cassidy Bill promises draconian cuts that would weaken funding, coverage and benefits for millions of children.

We want to thank Jimmy Kimmel for his strong heartfelt, opposition to the bill during his monologue Tuesday evening. By shining a light on just how far this bill falls short of Cassidy’s own promises to the late night talk show host, Kimmel is continuing to fight not just for children’s health care, but for health care access and affordability for everyone.  

This bill represents an even greater threat to children through its cuts to the Medicaid Program than the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), which was recently defeated in a historic U.S. Senate vote. Medicaid is a wise investment in our country’s future. In its current form, half of all Medicaid beneficiaries are children, who consume only 20 percent of the program’s annual expenses making assuring coverage not just a moral imperative but a worthwhile economic investment.

Pediatric academic medical centers like Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) share a commitment to treating the most vulnerable children in America—and in Los Angeles, this results in more than 70 percent of patients treated at CHLA being insured through Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid Program). Reducing access to Medicaid will threaten the survival of children including those with complex medical needs and congenital conditions, 60 percent of whom are covered under the Medicaid Program.

As Jimmy stressed in Tuesday’s monologue, the only way health care legislation can receive a passing grade is by including provisions that:

  • Provide health care coverage for all;
  • Prevent lifetime caps on insurance benefits; 
  • Prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against individuals  with pre-existing medical conditions;
  • Reduce insurance premiums for middle-class families.

From our perspective, it’s time for Congress to focus on legislation that ensures our nation’s children are covered. We ask Congress to abandon efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and focus instead on working together on a bipartisan basis to strengthen health care for all. Instead of focusing on repealing and replacing a bill that is already helping so many millions of citizens, Congress should be working to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which expires September 30. Together with the Graham-Cassidy Bill and delay in reauthorization of the CHIP program, health care for nearly 40 million children lies in jeopardy. New efforts must do more to help children than currently proposed legislation.

We are asking individuals to act now. Call your state’s U.S. Senators  at the number Jimmy provided — 202-224-3121 — to urge them to reject the Graham-Cassidy Bill and support legislation that will provide adequate health care for all children and families.


About Children's Hospital Los Angeles 
Children's Hospital Los Angeles has been ranked the top children’s hospital in California and sixth in the nation for clinical excellence with its selection to the prestigious U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll. CHLA is home to The Saban Research Institute, one of the largest and most productive pediatric research facilities in the United States. Children’s Hospital is also one of America's premier teaching hospitals through its affiliation with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California since 1932.  For more information, visit CHLA.org. Follow us on FacebookLinkedInInstagramTwitter and YouTube. The institution maintains two blogs for the community, with information about child health on CHLA.org/Blog and research updates on ResearCHLABlog.org.