Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) December 05, 2011
An estimated 3.2 million children could gain health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act, according to a joint report by the Urban Institute and Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families appearing today in the journal Health Affairs. Funded through The Atlantic Philanthropies’ KidsWell initiative, the new analysis provides the first in depth estimates of the expected impact of the ACA on the nation’s children.
When fully implemented, the ACA has the potential to cut the number of uninsured children in the United States by another 40 percent and the number of uninsured parents by almost 50 percent. The researchers point out that the uninsured rate for children already has declined to record lows in recent years due to the success of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
“The Affordable Care Act already is making a difference in the lives of children by protecting Medicaid and CHIP coverage, and can make an even greater impact in the years ahead if the new law is allowed to reach its full potential,” said Jocelyn Guyer, co-director of the Georgetown University research institute. “On the flip side, if states are lackluster in their implementation of the ACA or the nation’s policymakers fail to continue to protect Medicaid and CHIP, all these gains for children could unravel.”
Using the Urban Institute’s nationally recognized microsimulation models, the researchers predicted that under full implementation of the ACA, 95 percent of all children will have coverage. Uninsurance rates are expected to decline for children in all income groups, with the steepest decline expected for children in families with income between 138 and 250 percent of poverty. Hispanic children will see the largest gains in coverage, but continue to be uninsured at substantially higher rates than children of other races and ethnicities.
The study also finds that under full implementation of the ACA, the number of uninsured parents will drop by over six million, a reduction of close to 50 percent.
“One of the most important contributions that the ACA can make to children’s lives is to increase health insurance coverage and access to care for their parents” said Genevieve Kenney, Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute and a co-author of the report. “Millions of children stand to benefit from improvements in the health and well being of their parents.”
There are a number of factors that will impact whether or not the full potential of the Affordable Care Act is realized by children and their parents. The Supreme Court is considering legal challenges to the new law and the Administration, Congress, and the states also must make a number of key decisions on implementation and funding. As explored in detail in the new analysis, if Congress and the Administration are unable to agree on financing of the CHIP program beyond 2015, fail to uphold the requirement that states maintain their Medicaid and CHIP coverage levels or states lag behind in necessary efforts to streamline enrollment and improve outreach, the number of uninsured children could increase significantly.
Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families is an independent, nonpartisan policy and research center whose mission is to expand and improve health coverage for America's children and families. The report is available on the CCF website at http://ccf.georgetown.edu