New CCF Fact Sheet Shows Medicaid Provides Needed Access to Health Care for Families

Our new fact sheet summarizes research on access to care in Medicaid. We find that children and parents who rely on Medicaid for health care receive coverage that is comparable to private insurance and far better than the access accorded uninsured families. Children covered by Medicaid and those with private insurance access health care services across a variety of measures at comparable rates, while children who are uninsured access health services at lower rates (see figure). This is not surprising at all when you consider that 76.5% of pediatricians accept new Medicaid patients.


Access to care for children and families with Medicaid coverage is comparable to private insurance coverage:

  • One study found that children with Medicaid/CHIP coverage are more likely than children with employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) to have a routine checkup. Compared to children with ESI, children who have Medicaid/CHIP coverage had significantly lower rates of forgoing medical care, prescription drugs, dental care, specialist care, mental health care, and vision care because it was unaffordable.
  • Adults with Medicaid coverage are as likely to have a regular source of care and significantly more likely to report general doctor visits and specialist visits in the last year compared to privately insured adults.
  • Low-income mothers with Medicaid coverage fare similarly on access to care to low-income mothers with private insurance. This includes measures of usual source of care, doctor visit, dental visit, unmet need, and others.

Children and families with Medicaid coverage have significantly better access to health care than the uninsured:

  • Children with Medicaid/CHIP are significantly more likely to have a regular source of care and to have a physician visit and dental visit in the last two years compared to uninsured children.
  • Adults impacted by the Medicaid expansion under the ACA were more likely to have a personal doctor and have a dental visit than adults living in states that did not expand Medicaid.
  • Medicaid coverage plays a particularly important role improving access to mental health care.

Check out the fact sheet to learn more.

Karina Wagnerman
Karina Wagnerman is a Senior Health Policy Analyst at the Center for Children and Families