Medicaid: A Smart Investment in Children

As readers of Say Ahhh! know, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provide health coverage to more than one-third of the children in the United States and the vast majority of these children are covered through Medicaid. Our new report, Medicaid is a Smart Investment in Children, reviews the research on the long-term benefits of Medicaid coverage for children. The research shows that access to Medicaid in childhood leads to longer, healthier lives, a better chance to finish high school and college, and more prosperous futures for our children.

  1. Medicaid eligibility for pregnant women and children improves health throughout their lives, from prenatal development to adolescence to adulthood. When pregnant women have access to Medicaid, there are better health outcomes for their children during adulthood, including reduced rates of obesity and hospitalizations and improvements in oral health. Researchers have also found that Medicaid exposure during early childhood leads to improvements in overall health during adulthood, as measured by a composite health index that examines the prevalence of high blood pressure, diabetes after age 18, heart disease or heart attack, and obesity. Studies suggest that, in the long-run, access to childhood Medicaid reduces mortality.

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