Although the rise in unemployment in this recession has resulted in lost health insurance coverage for many adults, a record 90 percent of children now have coverage – one-third of whom are covered by public programs, Medicaid and CHIP. About 7.5 million children remain uninsured, including 5 million who are eligible for Medicaid and CHIP but not enrolled.
Who are the at-risk kids? How are states faring with enrollment and retention? Are state budget issues creating a dilemma for kids’ coverage programs? Will states be able to maintain programs when the enhanced federal match under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 runs out in June? How will children and families be affected once major parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) become effective in 2014? What are the critical health issues affecting children? What initiatives are in place to keep kids healthy?
To address these questions and more, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Centene Corporation sponsored an April 4 briefing. The briefing examined issues in children’s health and health coverage, including the effects of various provisions in the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act and the ACA, and the role of states in carrying them out. Panelists were: Vikki Wachino, director of Family and Children’s Health Programs Group, CMS; Jocelyn Guyer, Georgetown’s Center for Children and Families; Cathy Caldwell, director, Bureau of Children’s Health Insurance, Alabama Department of Public Health; and Dr. Mary Mason, chief medical officer, Centene Corporation. Ed Howard of the Alliance moderated.