Children’s Uninsured Rate Rises by Largest Annual Jump in More Than a Decade
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* After reaching a historic low of 4.7 percent in 2016, the child uninsured rate began to increase in 2017, and as of 2019 jumped back up to 5.7 percent. This increase of a full percentage point translates to approximately 726,000 more children without health insurance since the beginning of the Trump Administration when the number of uninsured children began to rise. Much of the gain in coverage that children made as a consequence of the Affordable Care Act’s major coverage expansions implemented in 2014 has now been eliminated.
* The number of uninsured children increased every year during the Trump Administration. The largest increase was observed between 2018 and 2019 when, despite a continued strong economy, the number of children without health insurance rose by 320,000. This increase in the number of uninsured children was the largest annual jump seen in more than a decade. Moreover, since this data was collected prior to the pandemic, the number of uninsured children is likely considerably higher in 2020, as families have lost their jobs and employer-sponsored insurance, though it is impossible to know yet by precisely how much.
* One-third of the total increase in the number of uninsured children from 2016 to 2019 live in Texas. The state saw by far the greatest coverage loss over the period with an estimated 243,000 more children living without health coverage. Florida has the next biggest loss, adding about 55,000 children to the uninsured count over the three-year period. As a consequence, 41 percent of children’s coverage losses during the Trump Administration occurred in Texas and Florida. Twenty-nine states experienced an adverse change for children from 2016 to 2019. The only state that bucked national trends and significantly reduced its number of uninsured children during this three-year time period was New York.
* These coverage losses were widespread across income, age, and race/ethnicity, but were largest among White and especially Latino children (who can be of any race).
Comment by Don McCanne of PNHP: There is a special place for children in the hearts of Americans. For the last half century an extra effort has been made to provide health care coverage for children, especially through the Medicaid and CHIP programs, but also through private plans through the ACA exchanges and employer-sponsored plans that also cover dependents.
However, the reluctance to support a universal national health program inevitably left many children without coverage. American style of health care reform – incremental patches – did have some effect in reducing but not eliminating the number of children uninsured, but this has changed during the last three years – not coincidentally the years of the Trump administration. An additional 726,000 children are now without health insurance (totaling 4.4 million in 2019), and that does not include more recent losses in coverage due to job loss during the Covid pandemic, due to the threat of the public charge rule against immigrants who are here legally, and due to increased administrative barriers to enrollment in the public programs. Apparently not all Americans hold in esteem children who represent the future of our nation. But it really is disconcerting to see some of our public stewards struggle to take health care away from children.
Think again about a single payer system of improved Medicare for All… health care… for everyone… for life… health care that is affordable for each of us. Imagine an America where each year we wouldn’t find ourselves compelled to count up the number of children uninsured due to the failure of our politicians to ensure health care for everyone who needs it. Yes, the uninsured children… think of them and what that represents, and then extrapolate that to the rest of us.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
October 14, 2020 at 6:55 PM #368293
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