• Talking Points
  • January 5, 2018

Medicaid is Vital to Children's Health

  • As Congress considers Medicaid proposals, it is imperative that any reforms maintain a sustainable, viable Medicaid program for children and protect children's access to care. Children's hospitals remain eager to work with Congress and the administration in a bipartisan fashion to strengthen coverage and care for children across the country, and continuing to improve Medicaid is a crucial part of that process. Our children represent our future and advancing their health must be our top priority. Rather than cutting or capping Medicaid funding for kids, children's hospitals advocate innovative solutions that improve the program and reduce spending. 
  • Half of the nation's children, around 36 million, are provided health care through Medicaid (30 million) and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) (6 million). Medicaid, as the single largest health insurer for children in the United States, is the backbone of kids' health care. Children account for about half of all Medicaid beneficiaries, but account for less than 20 percent of program spending. Medicaid, along with CHIP, is the foundation of America’s commitment to providing coverage and access to care for children. 
  • Developing children have different health care needs than adults. Three pieces must exist for Medicaid to work for children:
  1. Coverage and access for all children. All eligible children must be covered by Medicaid and CHIP and able to access required services and a range of pediatric providers to meet their unique developmental needs
  2. Child-specific health benefits. All children in Medicaid and CHIP should receive current national pediatric standard benefits, regardless of the state they live in.
  3. Care for the sickest children. Fewer than 5 percent of children have health care needs requiring specialized care at regional centers that may be outside their home state. Their care is already complex and hard on families, but efforts like the ACE Kids Act (an option for the sickest kids) and related initiatives can help ease these burdens and reduce health care costs. 
  • Children covered by Medicaid, compared to those who are uninsured, go on to enjoy better health, lower rates of mortality and higher educational and economic outcomes as they become adults. A strong Medicaid program is a sound investment in our nation's future and essential for children.