More than 2 million Virginians are now enrolled in public health insurance through Medicaid or FAMIS—more than 40% of those enrolled are children. Virginia has reached a historic low in uninsured children, yet children in low-income families are still less likely to be insured.
Every child and family should have access to affordable, quality, and comprehensive health coverage. Thanks to Medicaid expansion in Virginia, more children have increasing access to health care. But there are still 88,000 children who lack health care coverage. Children in the lowest-income families, as well as Latino children, are less likely to be insured than their higher-income peers. The health of a child is dependent on the well-being of their family, and parents who are insured are more likely to help their children receive the medical care they need.
Health care access is not only limited to enrollment in insurance coverage. Many families with insurance still face barriers that prevent them from getting the care they need to keep themselves and their children healthy. Health care access means that children and families can receive care in their communities, in languages they understand, and by providers they trust. Being able to see a health care provider and receive culturally-responsive and gender-affirming primary and prenatal care – in addition to mental health care – is critical in a child’s ability to grow and thrive.
Promoting children’s health care is another way of ensuring their parents are healthy and cared for, particularly during pregnancy and in the postpartum period.
Racial disparities in maternal health are particularly concerning. Mortality rates for Black women in the first year after giving birth are over twice that of white women in Virginia at 79.3 per 100,000 live births.
Health care, food access, affordable housing, and economic security are closely linked as “social determinants of health.” These social determinants, often established by the policies and systems in a community, factor into a child’s overall well-being and that of their caregivers. We consider all of these policies and systems to be interwoven and critical components of supporting the immediate and long-term health of children and their families.
- Covering all kids with health insurance regardless of income or immigration status.
- Maximizing the state-federal partnership through Medicaid by providing robust benefits to enrolled Virginians.
- Providing implicit bias training for medical professionals, particularly those involved in the care of pregnant persons and children.
- Ensuring transgender and nonbinary youth have access to gender-affirming health care and insurance coverage for gender-affirming procedures.
We currently participate in the following coalitions: PUSH Coalition (Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy), Healthcare for All Virginians (HAV) Coalition, CHIPAC, and DMAS Medical Care Advisory Committee.