Children's Defense Fund

The Children's Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. The national organization works on behalf of all children to ensure that every child in the U.S. receives health care coverage that is comprehensive, accessible, and affordable. See below for more information about CDF’s recent activities, accomplishments, and advocacy work and tools!


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  • 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.
  • CDF Submits Comments to HHS on Coverage for Former Foster Children

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    CDF: The Children’s Defense Fund released comments on the Medicaid coverage provision for former foster care children in the proposed rules. CDF strongly urges HHS "to reverse the interpretation in the proposed regulations that states will only be required to enroll eligible former foster youth in Medicaid to age 26 if they remain living in the state where they were in foster care."
  • CDF Urged CMS to Include Child Surveys QHP and Exchange Standardized Instruments

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    CDF: The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) drafted comments in response to CMS’s development of a standardized instrument for use in the public reporting of enrollee satisfaction with their Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) and Exchange. CDF urges CMS to include child surveys in the development of these standardized instruments. 

  • CDF Submitted Comments to HHS on Interim Final Provisions of Exchange and Medicaid Rules

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    The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the Interim Final Provisions of the Exchange and Medicaid Rules released on March 23 and March 27, 2012. The comments include recommendations on: (1) the bifurcation of the eligibility assessment and determination process between the Exchange and the Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agency which CDF strongly opposes; (2) developing stronger federal standards to define the Navigator role and to ensure that consumers are adequately informed about options available through the Exchange; and (3) the inclusion of two specific qualifying events for special populations that trigger special enrollment periods.
  • CDF Submitted Comments on HHS' 2011 Essential Health Benefit Bulletin

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    The Children's Defense Fund submitted comments on HHS' December 2011 EHB Bulletin with the following recommendations: (1) to be consistent with the Affordable Care Act, the Secretary should clearly define the essential health benefits for children. The creation of a strong federal floor for all, but particularly for children, would help ensure that all children, regardless of where they live, get the comprehensive health and mental health services they need to survive and thrive; (2) the essential health benefits must take the unique health care needs of children into account, as required by the Affordable Care Act, and guarantee every child access to all medically necessary services; (3) any essential health benefits package must limit the ability of insurers to circumvent the requirement to cover the full range of pediatric services; and (4) there should be a transparent process in place during the states’ selection of a benchmark plan, the Secretary’s approval process, and the updating of benchmark benefits as ACA implementation moves forward.

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