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The profound effect of Medicaid on children’s health

Medicaid gives health insurance to more than 27 million American children — and it impacts more than just their health.

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Fourteen percent of American children live below the federal poverty level, which in 2019 amounted to an income of $16,190 a year for a family of two and $21,330 for a family of three. Without Medicaid, these families would not be able to afford health insurance and their access to quality care would be severely limited. Enter the lifeboat that is Medicaid.

Starting from the first moments of a child’s life, Medicaid plays an enormous role: About half of all births in America are covered by Medicaid. But the impact of Medicaid’s coverage extends far beyond the walls of a doctor’s office, as researchers have begun to explore the long-term health, economic, and social benefits of Medicaid. One study looked at the effects of Medicaid on childhood health and found that children with Medicaid coverage had higher graduation rates, greater economic mobility, and better physical health as adults.

When Medicaid expanded in 2017, an additional 700,000 children were insured, and today, Medicaid covers 27 million American children. That gives even more Americans a chance at a healthier childhood, and then, a healthier adulthood.

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