States Can Reduce Kids’ Uninsured Rate Further by Expanding Medicaid

November 20, 2013 at 2:40 pm

The Georgetown University Center for Children and Families’ annual report on children’s health coverage, released today, brings welcome news:  the rate of children without health coverage fell for the fifth consecutive year, from 9.3 percent in 2008 to 7.2 percent in 2012 (see chart).

The report notes that state decisions whether to expand Medicaid under health reform, which would extend coverage to adults earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty line ($25,975 for a family of three), will build on these gains in children’s coverage.  Here’s why:

Nearly 70 percent of the nation’s 5.3 million uninsured children are already eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program but are not enrolled, according to Georgetown’s researchers.  When states expand Medicaid for parents, the number of uninsured children falls, because parents are more likely to sign up their eligible children for coverage when the whole family can get coverage, research shows.  Research also finds that when parents have coverage, their children are less likely to experience breaks in coverage and are more likely to receive preventive care and other needed care.  As a result, making coverage available to more low-income parents through health reform’s Medicaid expansion should further reduce the ranks of uninsured children.

Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia already have decided to expand Medicaid next year.  As policymakers in Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and other states contemplate whether to expand their Medicaid programs, they should consider the positive impact that expansion will have on children’s health coverage and access to needed care.

Print Friendly

More About Jesse Cross-Call

Jesse Cross-Call

Jesse Cross-Call is a Policy Analyst in the Health Policy division of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. In this role he examines issues related to the implementation of health reform and provides information and technical assistance to state and local officials, providers, and nonprofit organizations who are working on issues related to expanding coverage to the uninsured through Medicaid and the new health reform marketplaces.

Full bio | Blog Archive | Research archive at CBPP.org

2 Comments Add Yours ↓

Comments are listed in reverse chronological order.

  1. 1

    In your article you state “Nearly 70 percent of the nation’s 5.3 million uninsured children are already eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program but are not enrolled, according to Georgetown’s researchers.” However, in the article you link to (research shows) in the 3rd paragraph, they state 2/3rds of 9 million children uninsured. So perhaps the 5.3 million is the number who qualify for Medicaid?

    • CBPP #
      2

      Thanks for your comment. The data in our blog post is correct: Nearly 70 percent of the nation’s 5.3 million uninsured children are already eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program but are not enrolled.

      We linked to the 2006 report in the blog post as a citation for our point that parents are more likely to sign up their eligible children for coverage when the whole family can get coverage. However, we didn’t mean to draw readers’ attention to the data on uninsured rates in that report. Those numbers are no longer correct because they are out of date.



Your Comment

Comment Policy:

Thank you for joining the conversation about important policy issues. Comments are limited to 1,500 characters and are subject to approval and moderation. We reserve the right to remove comments that:

  • are injurious, defamatory, profane, off-topic or inappropriate;
  • contain personal attacks or racist, sexist, homophobic, or other slurs;
  • solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites or to sell products or services;
  • may infringe the copyright or intellectual property rights of others or other applicable laws or regulations; or
  • are otherwise inconsistent with the goals of this blog.

Posted comments do not necessarily represent the views of the CBPP and do not constitute official endorsement by CBPP. Please note that comments will be approved during the Center's business hours. If you have questions, please contact communications@cbpp.org.



 characters available