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Making the case for Medicaid expansion (again)

If you missed it last week, Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families (CCF) reported on an important new milestone in children’s health.

CCF Executive Director Joan Alker explains:

CCF Executive Director Joan Alker give a radio interviewFor the past six years, my colleagues and I here at Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families have reported on state-by-state and national trends in children’s health coverage.

This year, we found that the nation’s uninsured rate among children fell by a third (from 7.1 percent to 4.8 percent) from 2013 to 2015 as health reform’s major coverage provisions took effect. That constitutes the largest two-year drop in the child uninsured rate on record, driven by continued enrollment growth in Medicaid and CHIP and further coverage gains achieved by health reform.

Forty-one states successfully reduced their child uninsured rates during that time frame – far more than our previous reports have found. Children in all demographic groups studied including age, income, race and ethnicity saw an improvement in their uninsured rates. Latino children saw significant drops though they continue to be disproportionately represented in the uninsured population.

This is truly a remarkable achievement and a testament to what can be achieved when national and state leaders work together to confront intolerable problems such as children going without health coverage. The positive trend in children’s health coverage started with the expansion of Medicaid to poor children over two decades ago, the creation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in 1997, and subsequent improvements to both programs. The Affordable Care Act, which maintained and enhanced Medicaid and CHIP coverage for children, accelerated this positive trend.

Alker recently sat down with Policy Watch’s Chris Fitzsimon to discuss the importance of North Carolina expanding Medicaid , and how state leaders could easily move forward with a state-specific plan.

Click below to hear our full podcast with Joan Alker:

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