First Focus

First Focus is a bipartisan advocacy organization that is committed to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. Children's health, education, early childhood, family economics, child welfare, immigration, and child safety are the core issue areas around which First Focus is working to promote bipartisan policy solutions. First Focus’ health work includes ensuring that all children, especially low-income children, have access to affordable, accessible, and reliable coverage. See below for more information about First Focus’ recent activities, accomplishments, and advocacy work and tools!


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  • KidsWell Partners Respond to MACPAC Request on Future of Children’s Health Coverage

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    CCF, CDF, First Focus, NHeLP, CA: 49 groups, including KidsWell Partners Children’s Defense Fund, The Children’s Partnership, First Focus, the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, and the National Health Law Program, responded to a MACPAC request about how to improve Marketplace coverage for children. The letter advocates for the Commission to recognize the foundational role of Medicaid and CHIP and discusses: affordability of coverage; adequacy of covered benefits; network adequacy; and transitions between Medicaid, CHIP, Marketplaces, and employer sponsored insurance.

  • First Focus Issues Statement and Summary on Study Comparing Coverage and Costs of CHIP and QHPs

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    First Focus: First Focus issued a press release and summary of a study conducted by Wakely Consulting group comparing actuarial values of CHIP and qualified health plans (QHPs) in 35 states. The analysis focuses on coverage for children at 160% of the federal poverty level (FPL) and 210% of FPL for CHIP and QHPs, respectively, and includes information on coverage available to children with special needs. The summary notes CHIP enrollees could face up to ten-fold increases in cost sharing if they are transitioned into QHPs.

  • KidsWell Grantees Release Issue Brief on Pediatric Network Adequacy

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    KidsWell PartnersFirst Focus, Georgetown Center for Children and Families (CCF), and the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) joined other national organizations to release an issue brief on ensuring adequate provider networks for children.  The brief, written by Children Now’s Michael Odeh, highlights the need for and development of robust pediatric provider networks.
  • Can Exchanges Work for Kids? First Focus, CCF and CDF Explain it All!

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    First Focus, CCF, and CDF: First Focus, The Georgetown Center for Children and Families and The Children’s Defense Fund released a resource to help advocates educate state officials on how Exchanges can benefit children. The resource reviews seven key components that should be considered for State-based Exchanges, State-partnership Exchanges, and the Federally-facilitated Exchange. The key components reviewed included effective consumer assistance, comprehensive child-specific Essential Health Benefits, transparent Exchange planning and operations, and seamless coverage and care through strong coordination with Medicaid and CHIP.
  • KidsWell Partners Issued Brief on Defining Essential Health Benefits for Children

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    CA: Mike Odeh, of Children Now, in collaboration with First Focus, Georgetown Center for Children and Families, The Children’s Defense Fund, Children’s Hospital Association, and Family Voices, released an issue brief on defining Essential Health Benefits for children.
  • First Focus Highlighted 2013 Budget and Proposed Budget Cuts

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    First Focus issued an update on the Federal fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget that highlighted the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s planned sessions to discuss the recently proposed budget cuts. According to a Committee memo, the new cuts include a number of health related provisions under the ACA including: (1) repealing the prevention and public health fund; (2) repealing the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary’s authority to issue unlimited state Exchange funds that would help facilitate the purchase of Qualified Health Plans (QHP); (3) defunding the CO-OP program which provides government-subsidized loans to non-profit health insurance plans; (4) rebasing the Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) allotments; (5) repealing the Medicaid Maintenance of Effort (MOE) state requirement; (6) repealing the increased Federal Medicaid funding cap and match rate for territories; (7) adjusting the proposed provider tax threshold that helps states finance Medicaid expenditures from 3.5% to 5.5%; and (8) reforming the Medical Liability system.    
  • First Focus Developed Draft Essential Health Benefit Comments

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    First Focus developed draft EHB comments for advocates to leverage as they craft their response to HHS’ December 2011 bulletin. The comments articulate the following specific recommendations: (1) use Medicaid as the standard for benchmark plans to meet children’s needs; (2) pediatric services must be explicitly defined to reflect the full range of children’s needs and the benchmarks for oral and vision services must be strengthened; (3) develop a standardized definition of pediatric medical necessity to ensure children can access Essential Health Benefits meaningfully and consistently; (4) prohibit insurers from substituting or altering Essential Health Benefits that are offered; (5) establish clear public participation standards for EHB decisions to guarantee diverse consumer involvement; and (6) broadly include state benefit mandates.

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