Valley Children’s CEO paints dire picture for needy children under health care plan

Valley Children’s CEO paints dire picture for needy children under health care plan

When Valley Children’s Healthcare CEO Todd Suntrapak wrote an opinion piece published in newspapers in Fresno and Sacramento he didn’t hold back about his opinion about the Republican-led effort to reform health care.

Much of the debate on the Senate Republican health care bill and the similar House bill focuses on the Medicaid expansion for adults. But this proposal would be a disaster for America’s children,” Suntrapak wrote in his lead paragraph in an op-ed published in the June 28 edition of The Sacramento Bee.

As the head of the Central Valley’s largest children’s hospital, Suntrapak words were a stinging rebuke in a region known for its conservative politics, but he’s not walking back from his suggestion that if passed the American Healthcare Act would have a significant impact on the health of needy children.

During the July 5 episode of “The Richard Beene Show,” Suntrapak discussed his position and how the limitation around Medicaid will impact children.

“What our concern has been, even though there are over 30 million children in this country that are covered by Medicaid, that the cuts associated with either the House version or the Senate version would disproportionately impact still about half the people enrolled in Medicaid, which are kids,” Suntrapak said.

The Madera-based hospital has played a major role in health care in Kern County for years, but in 2017 it has announced major projects to enhance health care coverage here, including building a major pediatric center in west Bakersfield.

During the 20-minute interview, Suntrapak said he believes that children will suffer under the bills that are proposed by the House of Representatives and the Senate.

For decades, children in need have been covered by Medicaid-based programs and in California that program is MediCal. Suntrapak said that federal-state relationship is under threat based on the language in these bills.

“My objection as the chairman of the California Children’s Hospital Association board, as well as the CEO of Valley Children’s, is really around the cuts that will happen to kids health care under both versions of this bill, and they will be catastrophic,” Suntrapak said.

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