The number of children uninsured shot up by more than 400,000 between 2016 and 2018, despite a strong economy, according to a recent study by the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute.
In 2018, 4.1 million children were uninsured. That’s in stark contrast to 2016, when there was a low of 3.6 million kids uninsured. The institute used data from the U.S. Census Bureau in its findings that the uninsured rate jumped to 5.2% last year, up from 4.7% in 2016.
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“Much of the gains in children’s coverage that came about as a result of the Affordable Care Act have now been reversed,” Joan Alker, the center’s executive director, told CNN.
According to Alker and the center’s research, multiple factors have played into the sharp bump in uninsured children:
- The Trump administration’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act
- Cuts to Affordable Care Act enrollment outreach and advertising
- The administration’s efforts to cut Medicaid
- Funding delays for the Children’s Health Insurance Plan
- An increase in state-based eligibility checks for Medicaid
Latino children have been hit hard. The research showed a rise in uninsured Latino children in particular, likely because of the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown. Undocumented parents are hesitant to enroll their children in public programs, CNN reported.
The institute found that white children and Latino children saw the biggest increases in uninsured rates, as well as kids younger than 6 and children in low-income families. But more kids in higher-income families also are uninsured, likely because of the cost of employer-sponsored coverage, Alker told CNN.
Tennessee, Georgia and Texas saw the biggest jumps in uninsured children.
“For children who are uninsured, I worry about the critical services they are missing out on and what it will mean for their short- and long-term health,” Lanre Falusi, American Academy of Pediatrics national spokesperson, told CNN.