Health Reform WK-EDGE Number of uninsured children increases by more than 400K
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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Number of uninsured children increases by more than 400K

By Lauren Bikoff, MLS

The increase in the rat of uninsured children is attributed to several factors.

The number of uninsured children increased by more than 400,000 between 2016 and 2018, reversing a long-standing positive trend according to a recent report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. Nationwide, more than 4 million children were uninsured in 2018.

"Recent policy changes and the failure to make children’s health a priority have undercut bipartisan initiatives and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which had propelled our nation forward on children’s health coverage," said Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and a research professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy. "This serious erosion of child health coverage is due in large part to the Trump Administration’s actions or inactions that have made health coverage harder to access and have deterred families from enrolling their eligible children in Medicaid and CHIP."

The report finds the following factors have contributed to the erosion in children’s health coverage: efforts to repeal the ACA and cut Medicaid; delays in funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program; elimination of the individual mandate penalty; cuts to enrollment outreach and advertising; inadequate oversight over state Medicaid programs that have created more red tape barriers; and the creation of a climate of fear and confusion for immigrant families that discourages them from enrolling eligible children in Medicaid or CHIP.

The child uninsured rate increased from 4.7 percent to 5.2 percent between 2016 and 2018. Coverage losses were widespread, with 15 states showing statistically significant increases in the number and/or rate of uninsured children (Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia). States where the uninsured rate for children has increased most sharply, in order or magnitude, are: Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Florida, and Ohio.

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