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June 2013

Medicaid Expansion: Good for Children, Their Parents, and Providers

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Children's Health Services Research, Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis (Dr Carroll), and Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System and Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, Massachusetts (Dr Frakt).

JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(6):511-512. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2104

Since the passage of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in 1997, the percentage of uninsured children in the United States has decreased dramatically. In the year before its passage, 16% of children were uninsured. In 2011, only 9.4% of children remained without coverage. Together, Medicaid and SCHIP cover more than one-third of children in the United States.

Public insurance makes a real difference in the health of children. Those who are covered are significantly more likely to have a usual source of care than those who are uninsured, which is strongly associated with better outcomes.1 Insurance also makes care more affordable, and insured children are significantly less likely to forego care because of cost.1 Public insurance has reduced disparities in health care related to race, ethnicity, and unmet health care needs.2