Although federal efforts have lead to a record-low 3.3 million children without health insurance, more than 20 million U.S. children still lack sufficient access to essential health care, according to a new report by the Children’s Health Fund.
The analysis, “Unfinished Business,” found that America’s uninsured kids, those with coverage who don’t get regular primary care and those with public coverage who don’t get timely specialty care, account for 20.3 million youngsters, or 28 percent of kids under age 18.
The analysis, based on federal health survey data from 2014 and 2015, showed there was a “long way to go before we can claim that all U.S. children have access to the care they need,” said a statement from Dr. Irwin Redlener, co-founder and President of Children’s Health Fund, a national non-profit group that operates 53 mobile health clinics that provide medical care to disadvantaged children nationwide.
“There has been a persistent misconception that simply providing health insurance is the same as assuring effective access to appropriate health care. It isn’t,” Redlener’s statement added. “Although Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and most recently the Affordable Care Act (ACA) insure more children than ever before, millions of kids are not getting the care they need.”
Using data from Children’s Health Fund programs in New York City, the report projects that 6.7 million children on Medicaid or CHIP who have access to primary care still don’t get the specialty care they need.
The report calls for more incentives for health care providers to serve poor communities and to provide greater access through telehealth and mobile clinics. it also recommends expansion of school health services, expanded transportation services for patients, greater promotion of health literacy and more assistance for parents who don’t speak English.