Rates of Uninsured Children Are Rising

Rates of Uninsured Children Are Rising

More and more children are insured, as states dick their parents around with new eligibility paperwork requirements for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Trump administration creates a climate of fear for undocumented immigrants.

The New York Times reported that across the country, “more than a million children disappeared from the rolls of the two main state-federal health programs for lower-income children, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, between December 2017 and June.” It’s probably not for good reasons:

Some state and federal officials have portrayed the drop — 3 percent of enrolled children — as a success story, arguing that more Americans are getting coverage from employers in an improving economy. But there is growing evidence that administrative changes aimed at fighting fraud and waste — and rising fears of deportation in immigrant communities — are pushing large numbers of children out of the programs, and that many of them are now going without coverage. The declines are concentrated in a minority of states; in other places, public coverage has actually increased.

Number-crunching of census data by the Times found that the number of uninsured kids rose between 2016 and 2018—by more than 400,000. Sure enough:

Some of the states that saw the largest increases in uninsured children — like Tennessee and Texas — were those that created rules to check the eligibility of families more frequently or that reset their lists with new computer systems. In some states with large immigrant populations like Florida, doctors and patient advocates report growing concern among parents that signing up their children (who are citizens) may hurt their own chances of getting a green card or increase their risk of deportation.

Apparently we’ve decided that our number-one priority as a society is making sure toddlers don’t scam asthma medicine out of the government—which, reminder, is very expensive because the government basically allows pharmaceutical companies to commit highway robbery.

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