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More Kids Now Have Health Care, And You Have The Federal Government To Thank For That

By Igor Volsky  

"More Kids Now Have Health Care, And You Have The Federal Government To Thank For That"

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More children are enrolled in health care coverage as a result of government safety net programs and provisions included in the Affordable Care Act, a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute finds.

“As of 2011, the percentage of those children with health insurance stands at 87.2, up from 81.7 in 2008,” while “the number of children eligible for Medicaid/CHIP, but uninsured, dropped from 4.9 million in 2008 to just 4.0 million in 2011.”

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Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have achieved participation rates of 90 percent or higher and just four — Alaska, Montana, Nevada, and Utah — reported rates below 80 percent. Three states — Texas, California and Florida — with the largest number of eligible but uninsured children make-up almost 37 percent of the total number of eligible uninsured children.

The advances in coverage come as a result of state efforts to simplify the enrollment process and several provisions included in the Affordable Care Act. The law has established a single streamlined application, decreased the paperwork burden, and awarded grants to community organizations tasked with enrolling eligible populations in the safety net programs. Obamacare has also ensured that an estimated 3.4 million young Americans now have access to health coverage. Under the health law’s provision allowing Americans up to 26 years old to remain on their parents’ health insurance plans, the country has seen a record drop in the number of uninsured young adults.

“The new data released today by the Urban Institute, showing a boost in Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) participation rates, demonstrates that the nation is moving in the right direction with respect to children’s health coverage,” a spokesperson told ThinkProgress. “CMS is greatly encouraged by this steady progress, as we continue our efforts to enroll all children who are eligible for these programs and to keep them covered for as long as they qualify.”

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