The number of uninsured Latino children nationwide and in Utah reduced sharply as key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took effect, in accordance to a new report from the institute of Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and NCLR. Among Utah Latino children, 26,000 were uninsured in the year of 2015 compared to 34,000 in the year of 2013.
The report calls on lawmakers to develop upon these gains and further decrease the uninsured rate. At 16.8 percent, uninsured rate for Utah Latino children is higher than every other state and the District of Columbia, and more than doubles the national rate. Utah is mentioned in the report as one of the 10 states with the greatest number of uninsured Utah Latino children.
“Due to the collective affect of the ACA, CHIP and Medicaid, we are observing real progress in assisting all kids get connected with care, and decreasing high rate of uninsured Utah Latino children,” claimed Jessie Mandle, health policy analyst at Voices for Utah Children.
The nation faced the sharpest reduction in the uninsured rate among Latino children on record after the ACA came into effect, dropping from 11.5 percent in the year of 2013 to 7.5 percent in 2015. Despite these improvements, Latino children yet make up a disproportionate share of the remaining uninsured kids, comprising 25 percent of the American child population but 39 percent of uninsured kids.
The improvement in the rate of health coverage for Latino children follows the positive trend in the overall health coverage rate of children. The trend began with changes to Medicaid to benefit more children over 2 decades ago, the creation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in the year of 1997, and subsequent improvements to both programs. The ACA, which maintained and enhanced Medicaid and CHIP coverage for kids, accelerated these positive trends.
“We must sustain to build on this progress so that every kid has the chance and capability to live a healthy life,” stated Steven T. Lopez, NCLR Manager, Health Policy Project. “Attempts to undermine the ACA and Medicaid would put our progress at risk. We must look forward—not take a step back—because coverage is important to our children’s health and our nation’s future.”
As soon as the month of January 2017, Congress might take advantage of particular rules that apply to budget reconciliation bills to repeal the ACA. Congress could indefinitely delay the more complicated task of replacing the ACA with a latest bill to protect health coverage for children and families.
“Merely as the U.S. approaches the point where all children would have the health coverage they require to succeed, Congress is poised to make a U-turn on this path to progress,” claimed Georgetown University CCF Executive Director Joan Alker.
A report issued last week by the Urban Institute discovered that if the ACA is repealed without a replacement, the number of uninsured Utahns would almost double, increasing from 328,000 uninsured Utahns to about 601,000. The uninsured rate among kids would more than double nationwide. Repealing the ACA without replacing it would not just eradicate the gains from the ACA, but result in even larger uninsured rates than existed before the ACA came into effect.
“Repealing the ACA without a replacement method isn’t a plan; it is a risky measure that threatens the health and well-being of kids and families,” stated Mandle.
Mandle further added that these programs are “important for working families.” She asserted parents to continue to learn about health insurance programs through the ACA, CHIP and Medicaid, and to observe if their kids or families are eligible. “We cannot let these coverage gains disappear. We’ve to keep moving forward so that all kids can live healthier lives.”
The report of Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and NCLR (National Council of La Raza) is available at http://publications.nclr.org/bitstream/handle/123456789/1672/latinochildren_1215.pdf
For further information about children’s health insurance options, parents can call 211 or visit www.takecareutah.org.
The report of Urban Institute is available at http://www.urban.org/research/publication/implications-partial-repeal-aca-through-reconciliation
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