Medicaid Expansion Is Beneficial for Children

Medicaid Expansion Is Beneficial for Children
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) expands the Medicaid program to provide health care for millions of uninsured individuals, mainly low-income adults.  In June, the Supreme Court ruled that states can choose whether to expand their Medicaid programs.  Low-income children, even if they are already eligible for Medicaid, have much to gain if Missouri expands its Medicaid program (MO HealthNet) to cover their parents.  Over 100,000 uninsured children are eligible for Medicaid.[1]  Many of these eligible children will enroll in Medicaid and stay enrolled if their parents are covered.  Getting kids insured makes them healthier.  For some, it can change their lives.
  • Expanding Medicaid to cover parents means that more eligible children will enroll.  Children who are eligible for health insurance are three times more likely to enroll if their parents also have insurance. Previous expansions of Medicaid coverage for parents have led to a ignificant increase in enrollment of eligible children and a drop in the number of uninsured children.
?With no outreach, no advertising, no partnerships to spread the word, enrollment soared,? Helping adults greatly contributed to the enrollment of children.? 
Gary Stangler, Director of Missouri Department of Social Services under Governors Ashcroft and Carnahan, commenting on, the increased enrollment of eligible Missouri children when Missouri expanded coverage for low income parents in the 1990s.  
  • Expanding Medicaid to cover parents means that children are more likely to stay enrolled.  Studies have found that covering parents makes it less likely that children have breaks in their own Medicaid coverage.
  • Expanding Medicaid to cover parents makes it more likely that children will receive needed preventive care and other health care services. Studies have found that insured children whose parents are also insured are more likely to receive check-ups and other care, compared to insured children whose parents are uninsured.
  • Parents? health can affect children?s health and well-being. The Institute of Medicine has reported that a parent?s poor physical or mental health can contribute to a stressful family environment that may impair the health and well-being of a child. Moreover, uninsured parents who can?t get care may be unable to work or may end up with big medical bills if they do get care. In either case, the financial consequences have a big impact on children even if the children have coverage.
Martha Heberlein, et al., ?Medicaid Coverage for Parents Under the Affordable Care Act,? Georgetown University Center for Families and Children, June 2012.
Sara Rosenbaum, et al., ?Parental Health Insurance Coverage as Child Health Policy: Evidence from the Literature,? Department of Health Policy, George Washington University, June 2007.
Kathryn Schwartz, ?Spotlight on uninsured Parents: How a Lack of Coverage Affects Parents and Their Families,? Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, June 2007.
Leighton Ku and Matthew Broaddus, ?Coverage of Parents Helps Children, Too,? Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, October 2006.
[1] State Health Facts: Missouri, available at     

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