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June 21, 2017

Congressional Plans to Gut the ACA and Medicaid will Reverse Gains Made in Children’s Access to Care

The Senate is considering even deeper cuts to Medicaid funding than those proposed by the House in the American Health Care Act.  These cuts would negatively impact the gains made in health care access for children across the nation.  A report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that 3 million children nationwide would lose health coverage under the American Health Care Act, increasing the uninsured rate for children by 50%.

A newly released report  from the Urban Institute examines trends in coverage, affordability, and access to providers for Medicaid and CHIP for children from 2008 to 2015, which encompasses the time period after the Affordable Care Act was enacted.  The report found that within this time period:

  • The share of children with Medicaid or CHIP increased from 27.3% to 36.2%
  • The share of uninsured children was cut in half (a drop of 49.5%).
  • Financial barriers declined for children covered by Medicaid or CHIP. This included declines from 9.5% of children to 7.6% of children who did not receive needed medical care because their parent’s couldn’t afford it.
  • There were significant increases in the percent of children covered by Medicaid and CHIP who received routine checkups (+3.8 percentage points) and who saw a dentist within the past year (+8.8 percentage points).
  • Access to providers increased among children covered by Medicaid and CHIP. For example, the share of children who delayed care for non-cost reasons decreased from 19% to 11.5%.

Research over the past few years has found that children with access to Medicaid and CHIP have better health, educational, and economic outcomes.  They are more likely to graduate from high school and college, have fewer emergency room visits and hospitalizations as adults, and earn more money as adults.

The Senate bill, which will probably include most of the disastrous policies proposed by the House bill plus deeper cuts to the Medicaid program, will only serve to take us backwards – erasing many of the recent gains we’ve made in ensuring that our nation’s children are able to get important health care services that help them stay healthy, do well in school, and increase their economic opportunities.

Sashi Gregory