Washington DC — For the first time in a decade, the number of uninsured children nationwide has increased, up to 5 percent from 4.7 percent in 2016, according to a recent report released by Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. This historic reversal of progress comes on the heels of the Trump Administration’s continued sabotage of health care, plus Republican state officials’ stubborn refusal to expand Medicaid, despite widespread support. In response to the study, Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, said:
“President Trump has led a Republican war on health care that has claimed many victims, but most shocking and appalling of all is its impact on our nation’s most vulnerable Americans: our children. After decades of progress, last year more than a quarter million more children were uninsured than in 2016 due to President Trump and the GOP’s repeal and sabotage agenda. This is an outrageous display of the Trump Administration’s total disregard for Americans’ health care. Whether by voting to expand Medicaid or by voting to replace pro-repeal Republicans with health care champions, the American people have made it crystal clear that they don’t want to give up an inch of progress on health care anymore and they are demanding an end to the Republican war on health care.”
Key Reasons for the decline in children’s coverage:
Divergent State Policies Have Led To Vastly Different Changes In The Children’s Uninsured Rate Across States — For Instance, The Uninsured Rate For Children Increased At Triple The Rate In States That Did Not Expand Medicaid As It Did In States That Expanded Medicaid. “In previous years, states have moved in similar but not uniform directions, reflecting the many ways state policy decisions can impact eligibility and enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The absence of significant progress across the country suggests that even states with the best intentions were unable to withstand strong national currents to protect children from losing health coverage…Three-quarters of the children who lost coverage between 2016 and 2017 live in states that have not expanded Medicaid coverage to parents and other low-income adults. The uninsured rates for children increased at almost triple the rate in non-expansion states than in states that have expanded Medicaid.”
Trump And His Republican Allies Have Repeatedly Tried To Repeal And Sabotage The Affordable Care Act And Have Slashed Funding For Outreach. “These national currents include a lengthy and ultimately unsuccessful congressional effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and cap federal Medicaid funding, as well as an unprecedented delay by Congress that allowed CHIP funding to lapse temporarily. In addition, Congress repealed the ACA’s individual mandate and the Trump Administration made numerous efforts to undermine the ACA Marketplaces, including dramatically cutting outreach and enrollment grants and shortening the open enrollment period.
Trump’s Punitive Immigration Policy Deter Children From Enrolling In Medicaid And CHIP. “Finally, one-quarter of all children under 18 living in the United States have a parent who is an immigrant. Several policies targeting immigrant communities are likely deterring parents from enrolling their eligible children in Medicaid or CHIP despite the fact that most of these children are U.S. citizens.
“All of these changes in the national political and policy realm mark a sharp reversal after many years of successful efforts to reduce the uninsured rate for children and families.”