Children Need Health Coverage
Today, 95 percent of kids in the U.S. have health insurance coverage a historic high. These children receive their health care coverage through an array of programs.
Children with health coverage are more likely to attend school, graduate from high school and become healthier adults, with higher taxable earnings than uninsured children. Without a strong national investment in these critical programs, children are less likely to live healthy and productive lives.
- Medicaid is a jointly funded federal-state health insurance program that provides affordable coverage to children in low-income families and to children with special health care needs.
- In the course of a year, 37 million children rely on Medicaid at some point for health care services.
- Children represent more than 40 percent of Medicaid enrollees, but account for less than 20 percent of Medicaid spending.
- Medicaid also provides children with access to comprehensive, pediatric-specific benefits that are critical to their healthy development.
Children’s Health Insurance Program
- About 9 million children receive coverage via the CHIP program.
- CHIP is a federal-state health coverage program that provides health insurance coverage for low-income children and pregnant women with incomes that are too high to qualify for Medicaid.
- CHIP is designed with children’s needs in mind, including pediatric-specific benefits and cost-sharing protections.
Children Need Access to Care
Even though 95 percent of children in the U.S. have insurance coverage, access to care continues to be an issue. The population of kids in the U.S. is growing, but the number of pediatric providers is holding steady, or in the case of some pediatric specialties, decreasing.
Access to Pediatricians and Specialists
- Fewer physicians but more kids means longer wait times. The prevailing benchmark in children’s hospitals for clinic wait times to schedule appointments is two weeks.
- In certain specialties experiencing shortages, the wait time is much longer. For instance, the average wait time to see a pediatric neurologist is almost nine weeks.
Drug Costs and Shortages
- Ensuring access to necessary and lifesaving medicines, as well as vaccines, is critical to the health and well-being of our nation’s children.
- In recent years, drug costs and shortages have become all too common in the U.S., reaching unprecedented levels.
- Reasons for this predicament are numerous and complex — lawmakers are working to understand market factors that may play a role in causing the current problems.