Law Brings Number of Uninsured Children Nationwide to a Record Low, Providing Health Care Coverage and Access to More Than 5 Million Children by 2019
CHF's White Paper Estimates 34% of Children Experience Barriers in Accessing Critical Health Care Services Today
NEW YORK, March 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On the one-year anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's (ACA) signing, Children's Health Fund (CHF) released a white paper estimating that more than 5 million children aged 18 and younger will receive health care coverage from the provisions of the ACA by 2019. Prior to the enactment of the ACA, 9.8 million children aged 18 and younger nationwide were uninsured, even with existing safety-net programs such as Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The enactment of the ACA will bring the number of uninsured children nationwide to a record low.
In addition to providing coverage for millions of previously uninsured children, the provisions of the ACA will work to break down the biggest health issue facing children today — barriers to access. CHF estimates that 16.9 million children with existing insurance coverage still do not receive adequate health care due to high out-of-pocket costs; limited number of physicians, dental and mental health care professionals; lack of provider participation in the Medicaid program; rising rates of chronic disease in underserved populations; and difficulty arranging transportation to health care services. The ACA provisions will work to address these issues by increasing reimbursement for primary care services; incentivizing primary care physicians to work in shortage areas; removing co-payments for preventative services and screenings; expanding community health center capacities; and eliminating barriers to insurance coverage due to existing conditions.
"The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act makes significant progress in reforming our nation's health care system," said Dr. Irwin Redlener, president and co-founder of Children's Health Fund. "Ensuring that all children have access to sufficient medical care helps prevent common health conditions such as asthma and diabetes from spiraling into major health issues. While significant work is ahead, the one-year anniversary of the passage of this law represents society's call to action to improve the health and well-being of all Americans and extend care to the most vulnerable among us."
CHF's white paper illustrates the important first steps that the new health law takes to increase insurance coverage and improve access to care for millions of children.
The ACA improves insurance coverage for children by:
- Strengthening Medicaid and CHIP
- Improving private coverage
- Establishing new health insurance marketplaces
The ACA improves access to care for children by:
- Improving access to pediatric medical care
- Expanding community health center capacity
- Strengthening the pediatric workforce
- Improving access to mental health care for children
- Expanding dental health care
- Promoting prevention and public health
The white paper also makes recommendations for actions that both the federal government and state governments should consider, including support for community health centers, support for the work of federal agencies responsible for managing health reform, and, in the states, taking advantage of all opportunities for funding within the health reform law.
About Children's Health Fund
Founded in 1987 by singer/songwriter Paul Simon and pediatrician/advocate Irwin Redlener, M.D., Children's Health Fund (CHF) is the nation's leading pediatric provider of mobile-based health care for homeless and low-income children and their families. CHF's mission is to bring health care directly to those in need through the development and support of innovative medical programs, response to public health crises, and the promotion of guaranteed access to health care for all children. CHF currently has 50 mobile medical clinics serving hundreds of locations across the country. Over the past 24 years, the organization has supported more than two million health care visits for disadvantaged children, often in places where doctors and health care providers are in short supply. For more information about CHF, visit www.childrenshealthfund.org.
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Irwin Redlener, MD
SOURCE Children's Health Fund