The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) joined the Children’s Hospital Association and other leading child health organizations in filing an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States on Sept. 23 urging the Court to preserve the use of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Section 1983”) as a legal option for ensuring the 33 million children enrolled in Medicaid receive the benefits they are entitled to under federal law.
Research has shown that providing Medicaid coverage – so that our nation’s most vulnerable have access to high quality, equitable health care – improves health outcomes, especially for those with chronic or complex conditions, and allows children to achieve greater long-term educational and career success. Contrary to federal legislation and regulation, some states are arbitrarily restricting children’s access to critical Medicaid, limiting the provider workforce and/or capping pediatric Medicaid benefits. Such actions by states disproportionally impact children of color and increase child health inequity.
“Pediatric nurse practitioners have been on the front line caring for America’s most vulnerable children since 1965 and have seen firsthand how the program can positively impact children and their families,” said NAPNAP President Dr. Jennifer Sonney. “We must protect children’s access to Medicaid coverage from states’ political maneuvering.”
The Medicaid program has limited administrative and enforcement policies. Families who are denied Medicaid services guaranteed under federal law must seek legal action based on Section 1983, which provides the right to sue state governments for violating civil rights under programs such as Medicaid. It is our responsibility, as experts in pediatrics and advocates for children, to stand up for our millions of patients who rely on the Medicaid program for their primary, acute and specialty health care needs. We urge the Supreme Court to affirm Section 1983 as a legal remedy to enforcing access to Medicaid benefits.
Sept. 26, 2022