Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus on Children moderated a Congressional briefing today on the need to ensure that allchildren have access to health insurance. Joining Bruce were a panel of child health experts including Kelly Whitener (Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy’s Center for Children and Families), Dr. Glenn Flores (University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, Holtz Children’s Hospital), Dr. David Rubin (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) and Dr. Marceé J. White (Total Health Care, Inc.).

As Bruce Lesley said:

“Nearly 4.3 million children are still uninsured in this country. We have made tremendous progress due to Medicaid and CHIP, but have lost ground in recent years. We must get back on the path to covering all kids.

According to census data, children of color were hit hardest, with 9.5% of Hispanic children and 6% of Black children lacking health insurance. In states that have not expanded Medicaid, the rate of uninsured children is more than twice as high. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a serious toll on the mental and physical health of our uninsured children and highlighted the pressing nature of this issue.

Congresswoman Kathy Castor, the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Children’s Health Care Caucus opened the briefing calling the fight for robust care for kids, “vital”See her remarks below:

The panel of health experts then went on to detail the challenges that prevent children from enrolling in health care programs or the administrative and policy barriers that drop children from Medicaid and CHIP programs once they are enrolled. We learned about the different measures we can take to expand access to care and heard about innovations in health care to address racial disparities in children’s health.

For a copy of the slide deck used in today’s briefing, click here.

For a fact sheet detailing policy recommendations to get kids covered, click here.