The share of children without health insurance remained at a historic low of 7.1 percent in 2013, Georgetown University Center for Children and Families’ annual report on children’s health coverage finds (see graph). That’s down considerably from the 9.3-percent rate for 2008, the earliest year for which we have comparable data. (The small change from 2012’s 7.2-percent rate wasn’t statistically significant.)
Along with Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has been a major factor in reducing the ranks of uninsured children since its enactment in 1997. However, states will get no new federal CHIP funding after September 2015 unless Congress acts.
And without new CHIP funding, as many as 2 million children could lose health coverage and become uninsured, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates.
Congress should act as soon as possible to extend federal CHIP funding. Otherwise, it risks derailing these substantial gains in children’s health coverage.