November 6, 2014
Gains could be erased if Congress fails to act
ALBUQUERQUE—A new report by a Georgetown University research center found the number of uninsured children in New Mexico declined by nearly 5,000 between 2008 and 2013.
The report, released today by the Georgetown Center for Children and Families, found of the children who remain uninsured, 24 percent live in rural areas of the state. Many of these children are eligible for Medicaid (Centennial Care) but are not enrolled because their families don’t know about the programs or need help overcoming barriers to coverage.
“Fortunately, the Medicaid expansion has enabled more parents to enroll their children,” said Veronica C. García, Ed.D., executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, which has worked with the Georgetown group on the Medicaid issue. “When parents don’t have unpaid medical bills, financial stress is reduced for the whole family and children’s health needs are more likely to be met.”
The Georgetown report tracked coverage gains in the state through 2013. Since the Medicaid expansion came online earlier this year as part of the Affordable Care Act, it is estimated an additional 15,000 children have been enrolled.
These recent gains could erode in the coming months, however, as funding for the national Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which supports Medicaid for kids, will expire unless Congress votes to renew it.
“Without a renewed commitment to children’s health coverage, we are concerned that the progress we’ve made for children will stall,” said Joan Alker, Executive Director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. “States rely on federal funding to serve uninsured children and it’s crucial that those funds continue to support these successful efforts.”
Preliminary estimates suggest as much as $24 million in federal funds to support children’s coverage in the state could be at risk if Congress fails to act.
The Georgetown University Center for Children and Families report is available online at: http://ccf.georgetown.edu/ccf-resources/childrens-coverage-crossroads-progress-slows/