Long Overdue for Children’s Health Insurance

Children’s Health Insurance by the Numbers

Read more on SCHIP: Putting Children’s Health Before Ideology, by Judy Feder

Congress will vote this week on whether to reauthorize and expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which is set to expire on March 31. President George W. Bush twice vetoed the expansion in 2007, and since then funding has not kept pace with demand for the program.

As a result, more children have joined the ranks of the uninsured, spurred by increasing unemployment and loss of employer-provided health insurance. At the same time, contracting state budgets have led to funding and coverage cuts and the tightening of eligibility requirements for Medicaid and SCHIP.

The numbers below show just how much need exists for the program and its expansion to cover more kids.

The economy has soured.

7.2 percent: The unemployment rate in December 2008.

2.6 million: The number of Americans who lost their jobs in 2008, and in many cases, the coverage that came with these jobs.

1.1 million: Increase in Medicaid and SCHIP enrollment with every percentage point increase in unemployment.

19: Number of states that, in the face of recession, have enacted budget cuts for Medicaid or SCHIP for fiscal year 2009 or 2010.

The number of uninsured has increased.

1.2 million: Number of children who lost employer-based health insurance through their parents in the 12 months ending in October 2008.

1 million: Number of children who have enrolled in Medicaid or SCHIP as a result of lost parental employment in the 12 months ending in October 2008.

6.2 million: Number of uninsured children living in families making below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, almost all of whom are eligible for SCHIP or Medicaid.

9 million: Number of children who are uninsured nationwide, the vast majority of whom are from low- and middle-income families.

Reauthorizing and expanding SCHIP can help.

10.6 million: The number of children the new SCHIP legislation will cover (6.7 million currently enrolled; 3.9 million added to the program).

Put simply, health insurance improves access to care for children, helping them grow into healthy adults. Increasing coverage for our nation’s low-income children is one of the best investments we can make to improve long-term health.

Read more about SCHIP and health care: