Medicaid Helps Millions of Kids Stay Healthy

December 9, 2019

Nationwide Medicaid provides life-sustaining health coverage to 37 million children, and the Kaiser Family Foundation says that three children out of every eight in Illinois are sheltered by the Medicaid umbrella. Some legislators in Washington want to cut Medicaid or radically change it, which would threaten essential services that protect society’s most vulnerable population—our children.

In addition to meeting the day-to-day healthcare needs for kids, Medicaid provides crucially important services.

  • The 1980s and early 1990s expansion of Medicaid coverage for low-income pregnant women has led to a more than eight percent reduction in infant mortality and a nearly eight percent reduction of incidences of low birth weight.
  • The Early Periodic Screening Diagnostic and Treatment benefit provides children under age 21 with comprehensive and preventive health services. Those services include regular well-child exams; hearing, vision, and dental screenings; and other services to treat physical, mental, and developmental illnesses and disabilities. This program means that children’s health problems can be addressed before they become advanced and treatment is more difficult and costly.
  • Medicaid helps kids at school. Students with disabilities need special medical services in order to get an education. Schools must provide these medical services, and Medicaid reimburses the schools for services such as speech and occupational therapy for eligible children. Medicaid also pays for health services that all children should have, such as basic vision and dental screenings conducted at schools.

Additionally, it is well-documented that Medicaid produces long-term improvements in health and well-being. For example, studies show that when children are eligible for Medicaid for more of their childhood, they earn more as adults and are more likely to attend and complete college.

At Nash Disability Law, we stand with organizations like Protect Our Care Illinois that fight to prevent disastrous changes to Medicaid, and work to protect and expand access to quality, affordable health care. We hope you will stand with us and contact your elected representatives to tell them that you expect them to protect children by protecting Medicaid.