Medicaid and Child Health Insurance Program Improve Child Health and Reduce Poverty But Face Threats

Janet Currie, Anna Chorniy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Over the past 20 years, the United States greatly expanded eligibility for public health insurance under the Medicaid and Child Health Insurance Program programs. This expansion improved children's access to health care and their health, ultimately lowering preventable hospitalizations, chronic conditions, and mortality rates in the most vulnerable children at a cost that is 4 times lower than the average per capita cost for the elderly. They also had broader antipoverty effects, increasing economic security, children's educational attainments, and their eventual employment and earnings opportunities. However, in recent years, this progress has been rolled back in many states. Remarkably, although income eligibility cutoffs have remained largely constant, states have reduced child coverage through a number of administrative measures ranging from increased paperwork, to reduced outreach, new parental work requirements, changes to public charge rules for immigrants, and waivers of federal requirements to provide retroactive coverage to new applicants. The number of uninsured children was rising for the first time in decades even prior to the pandemic. With rising numbers who have lost their jobs in the pandemic-induced recession, it is more important than ever to defend and restore and improve access to public health insurance for our children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S146-S153
JournalAcademic Pediatrics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


  • Medicaid
  • children
  • coronavirus 2019
  • poverty
  • public health insurance access


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