Since its introduction in January 2015, the Advancing Care for Exceptional (ACE) Kids Act has garnered growing bipartisan support and seems to be heading for success as lawmakers convened a legislative hearing this week to discuss the plan that would ease the suffering of children with complex medical problems and the problems faced by their parents.
The Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health convened the hearing Thursday. U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor is on the committee and credits a Tampa Hospital with the snowballing success of the proposal.
“After today’s hearing and with more than 200 co-sponsors, I am optimistic that (Rep. Joe) Barton and I are on a path to work with our colleagues in this great bipartisan effort to pass the ACE Kids Act, which will significantly benefit our most vulnerable patients with complex medical conditions.”
St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa was key in its support, Castor said.
“I want to thank St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital … and their patients and families, for contributing so much to today’s hearing,” Castor said. “More importantly, I want to thank St. Joseph’s for leading the nation in modeling how care can be coordinated through a medical home, using taxpayers’ resources efficiently and providing relief to struggling families — rather than a costly, fragmented system.”
The ACE Kids Act was first introduced a year-and-a-half ago by a handful of representatives, including Castor.
“This hearing marks a substantive step forward for the ACE Kids Act,” said Barton, a Republican from Texas. “Our aim is simple: to put medically complex children and their families first. The current burden placed on these families is overwhelming, to say the least.
“With the health home model found in this bill, our nation’s most qualified children’s hospitals providers will be empowered to do what they do best.”
The act’s sponsors say that by coordinating and improving access to medical care, the ACE Kids Act would help streamline services and reduce the hardships sick children and their families must go through.
In the House, this bill has 212 co-sponsors, and a companion bill in the Senate has 38 co-sponsors.
The bill is supported by the Children’s Hospital Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Heart Association and the National Down Syndrome Society.
Barton and Castor say they are confident the bill will reach President Obama’s desk before he leaves office.