By Jane Perkins
When it comes to children’s health, every parent knows that the early years are crucial. President Lyndon B. Johnson echoed that sentiment when he pushed to expand the Medicaid program to focus on children’s health more than 40 years ago.
Despite getting more children health insurance coverage, not every child in America has the same chance at a healthy future. Low-income children are more likely to have problems affecting their behavioral development, vision, hearing, and oral health—all situations that can affect how children learn, play and grow. Low-income children of color are disproportionately affected, as they are more likely than other children to suffer from a range of health problems, including developmental delay, lead poisoning, dental caries, and asthma.
Clearly, low-income children need access to routine preventive services and treatment of detected problems. This is where Medicaid comes in.
Medicaid includes broad, targeted services for children and youth: EPSDT—Early and Periodic Screening Diagnostic and Treatment. Children enrolled in Medicaid are entitled to receive EPSDT services until they turn 21. The principle behind EPSDT is simple: children need to get the right services at the right time and in the right settings; otherwise, small problems can become large ones. In addition, services need to be tailored to the population because young children are not little adults, and teenagers are not old toddlers. Read the full article here. »