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Coverage of Low-Income Children: Key Issues to Consider in Health Reform

A key element of health reform will be meeting the needs of low-income children. Overall, a major goal of proposals is to expand coverage by building on Medicaid, providing subsidies to low- and moderate-income individuals to buy coverage through new health insurance exchanges, and requiring individuals to obtain coverage. Current proposals also could significantly change coverage for some children already eligible for Medicaid and CHIP.

This issue brief examines several key issues to consider about low-income children’s coverage under health reform. Medicaid and CHIP are proven programs that have successfully covered millions of low-income children with diverse health needs. As reform efforts continue, it will be important to consider how to build upon the accomplishments of Medicaid and CHIP, develop effective relationships and transitions between public and private coverage, and assure that low-income children receive coverage that meets the full range of their health needs and offers meaningful financial protections for their families. Further, adequately planning and funding for the transition to reform will be key to preventing any disruptions in children’s coverage or care as reform is implemented.

This issue brief was released as part of a package of related materials in conjunction with a media briefing on the findings of an annual 50-state survey of Medicaid and CHIP eligibility and enrollment policies.

Issue Brief (.pdf)