New York Times Examines Emphasis on Children’s Coverage
The New York Times on Sunday examined how the number of U.S. children with health insurance has increased in recent years, even as the number of adults with health insurance has decreased. Twenty states in the last year took steps to increase health coverage for children, and nine states reversed actions taken between 2001 and 2003 that limited children's access to health care, according to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.
However, 11 states facing budget pressure have "made it more difficult for eligible children to retain coverage," the Times reports. Because of state policies and other factors, the number of uninsured children decreased by 350,000 since 2000, according to KCMU.
The state SCHIP program has had an effect on children's health coverage. Enrollment in the program increased from 897,000 in 1998 to 3.95 million in 2003 "before leveling off," the Times reports.
About 16% of all U.S. residents are uninsured, compared with 12% of children under age 18, according to KCMU.
Alan Weil, executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy, said the focus on expanding care for children is because of "a conceptual distinction between the deserving and the undeserving poor." Weil added, "It's very hard to call kids undeserving, even if you don't like the parents' behavior" (Broder, New York Times, 12/4).