November 2005

Our Porous Safety Net for Children

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2005 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2005

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159(11):1080-1081. doi:10.1001/archpedi.159.11.1080

It is well documented that the high out-of-pocket cost of health care causes many families to forego or delay seeking medical care for their children.1,2 Uninsured, low-income families are most burdened by out-of-pocket health care costs.3 The creation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and the concurrent Medicaid expansion in 1997 were attempts to increase affordable health care access to children of low-income families. The US Census Bureau estimates that at the program’s inception in 1997, 11 million children lacked health insurance, 14 million children were enrolled in Medicaid, and 44.6 million children received health insurance from a parent’s employer.4 Despite increased eligibility for public health insurance programs, the bureau’s most recent estimate shows that 9 million children still lacked health insurance in 2003.