More Kids Are Getting Health Insurance…

“¦ And it’s not because of Obamacare.

Physician's Assistant Kim Gracey checks the throat of sick child Joselyn Mejia, age 4, at a low-cost clinic run by the Rocky Mountain Youth Clinics on July 28, 2009 in Aurora, Colorado. Her mother Jessica Mejia (C) said she has health insurance through her employer, but finds the clinic cheaper than paying the deductible to have her children cared for by a family practitioner. Funded primarily through donations and grants, Rocky Mountain Youth Clinics treats mostly children of uninsured parents, those on Medicaid and others whose parents cannot afford to pay the high deductibles charged by many health insurance policies.
National Journal
Clara Ritger
Add to Briefcase
Clara Ritger
April 9, 2014, 8:05 p.m.

The per­cent of kids in the United States without health in­sur­ance fell more than 2 points in four years, but that has little to do with the Af­ford­able Care Act.

A new study from the Robert Wood John­son Found­a­tion shows that the per­cent­age of un­in­sured chil­dren dropped to 7.5 per­cent in 2012 from 9.7 per­cent in 2008.

Among the groups that saw ma­jor gains in cov­er­age are low-in­come and minor­ity chil­dren, the re­search­ers found — two pop­u­la­tions that tra­di­tion­ally have high­er un­in­sured rates. His­pan­ic chil­dren, for in­stance, saw a 6 per­cent gain in cov­er­age over the four-year peri­od.

Driv­ing both of those changes, the re­search­ers said, was an in­crease in cov­er­age through Medi­caid and the Chil­dren’s Health In­sur­ance Pro­gram, which is a pub­lic cov­er­age op­tion for low-in­come youth.

Al­though the un­in­sured rate fell, so did the num­ber of kids who had private in­sur­ance, the re­search­ers found.

“We did see de­clines in the per­cent­age of kids who had private cov­er­age,” said Ju­lie Soni­er, a re­search­er on the study and deputy dir­ect­or at the State Health Ac­cess Data As­sist­ance Cen­ter at the Uni­versity of Min­nesota. “In the ab­sence of pub­lic cov­er­age, we would have seen those kids go un­in­sured.”

One factor caus­ing the de­cline in private in­sur­ance, Soni­er said, was the re­ces­sion. More par­ents were los­ing jobs, mean­ing they no longer had ac­cess to em­ploy­er-provided health in­sur­ance and were more likely to fall in­to a lower-in­come brack­et, qual­i­fy­ing their kids for pub­lic health pro­grams.

The Af­ford­able Care Act, however, wasn’t much of a factor in the num­bers, Soni­er said. That’s be­cause in most states that op­ted to raise the in­come eli­gib­il­ity for Medi­caid — a pro­vi­sion of the Af­ford­able Care Act — chil­dren already qual­i­fy for CHIP at or above those in­come levels.

“We may see an ef­fect in the fu­ture,” Soni­er said, “as total fam­il­ies gain cov­er­age from par­ents’ be­com­ing newly eli­gible and real­iz­ing their kids are, too.”

The “wood­work ef­fect” is already be­ing seen in some state Medi­caid pro­grams, as people who were al­ways eli­gible for Medi­caid are just now sign­ing up due to the heavy mar­ket­ing of the Af­ford­able Care Act.

Mar­ket­ing and out­reach ef­forts played a big role in the four-year de­cline in un­in­sured chil­dren, Soni­er said. States also made big gains by im­prov­ing the ap­plic­a­tion pro­cess.

“We do know there have been really sig­ni­fic­ant ef­forts on the part of states to stream­line eli­gib­il­ity pro­cesses,” Soni­er said. “His­tor­ic­ally, we’ve seen really high rates of people fall­ing off pro­grams, even if they con­tin­ue to be eli­gible due to the pa­per­work bur­den.”

But not all states are cre­ated equal, and the na­tion­al un­in­sured rate masks some states that are hav­ing more trouble cov­er­ing chil­dren than oth­ers. In Mas­sachu­setts, for in­stance, roughly 1 per­cent of chil­dren lacked in­sur­ance in 2012, com­pared with Nevada, which has a 17 per­cent un­in­sured rate.

The Uni­versity of Min­nesota re­search­ers con­duc­ted the study in­de­pend­ently of the Robert Wood John­son Found­a­tion, which fun­ded the pro­ject.

What We're Following See More »
PENCE BREAKS THE TIE
Senate Will Debate House Bill
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

By the narrowest of margins, the Senate voted 51-50 this afternoon to begin debate on the House's legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins defected from the GOP, but Vice President Pence broke a tie. Sen. John McCain returned from brain surgery to cast his vote.

Source:
WON’T SAY IF HE’LL FIRE HIM
Trump “Disappointed” in Sessions
3 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

“'It’s not like a great loyal thing about the endorsement,'” Mr. Trump said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. 'I’m very disappointed in Jeff Sessions.'”

Source:
MURKOWSKI, COLLINS VOTE NAY
Republicans Reach 50 Votes to Proceed on Health Bill
3 hours ago
THE LATEST
INTERVIEWED KUSHNER FOR OVER THREE HOURS
House Russia Probe: Kushner “Satisfied” Questions
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Republicans who interviewed Jared Kushner for more than three hours in the House’s Russia probe on Tuesday said the president’s son-in-law and adviser came across as candid and cooperative. 'His answers were forthcoming and complete. He satisfied all my questions,' said Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), who’s leading the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign."

Source:
VICTORY FOR GUN RIGHTS ADVOCATES
Appeals Court Block D.C. Gun Control Law
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday blocked a gun regulation in Washington, D.C., that limited the right to carry a handgun in public to those with a special need for self-defense, handing a victory to gun rights advocates. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit's 2-1 ruling struck down the local government's third major attempt in 40 years to limit handgun rights, citing what it said was scant but clear guidance from the U.S. Supreme Court on the right to bear arms."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login