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Voices’ Blog

Why Medicaid Expansion Matters for Kids

Posted:  -  By: Ashley Airington

As a member of the Healthcare for All Virginians (HAV) Coalition, we were disappointed that the General Assembly once again failed to close the health insurance coverage gap for low-income adults during the special session last week. We think it’s important for policymakers and child advocates to understand the great extent to which this decision affects kids. We’ve prepared a Fact Sheet to explain this, and here are a few of the major points:

100,000 parents in Virginia fall in the coverage gap.
400,000 low-income adults fall in the coverage gap in Virginia, meaning they make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford health insurance on the federal exchange. Fully one-quarter of those adults are parents of kids younger than 18.

Insured parents get health insurance and health care for their kids.
When parents have health insurance, they are more likely to obtain health insurance for their kids AND take them to the doctor for preventive care and treatment when they’re sick.

When parents have access to health care, they are better able to care for their children.
Parents are better able to care for their children when their own health needs are being met — for example, untreated maternal depression has a negative effect on the emotional development of young kids. Also, parents with health insurance are less vulnerable to the potentially exorbitant costs and heavy emotional toll of unexpected medical bills.

For these reasons, Voices for Virginia’s Children will continue to advocate that Virginia close the coverage gap for low-income adults. Contact Voices’ policy analyst Ashley Everette at ashley@vakids.org for more info.

For more facts about the importance of closing the coverage gap to improve the health and well-being of Virginia’s kids, see our Fact Sheet.

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