Covering Parents: A Solution Child Advocates Can Get Behind

Before the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act,  we released a paper highlighting the fact that 4.9 million parents stand to gain coverage through Medicaid in 2014.  That research became even more significant after the Supreme Court ruling removed an important mechanism for the HHS Secretary to incentivize states to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage to all individuals below 133% of FPL.  Since states now effectively have the choice on whether or not to allow these parents to join their children by enrolling in Medicaid coverage, we thought it would be a good time to highlight the benefits of doing so.

We teamed up with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities to lay out the best case for states to cover parents and other adults important in kids’ lives.  Research is clear that covering parents means:

  • More eligible children will enroll and are more likely to stay enrolled.  The ACA – if implemented as planned, has the potential to cut the rate of uninsured kids by 40% percent—and most of that is by covering their parents.
  • Children are more likely to receive preventive care and other health care services they need.
  • Parents’ health can affect children’s health and well-being, such as their ability to get to school ready to learn.

Want more? Check out the full memo.

Bottom line: In this new world, the single best way to ensure kids access the coverage and care they need is by covering their parents. So we’re pleased to see so many child advocates leading the charge in many states (see, for example, recent pieces from Utah, and Texas).  If you have been busy making the case for your state to take the chance to extend Medicaid coverage, send us your work so we can share it with our readers.

Joan Alker is the Executive Director of the Center for Children and Families and a Research Professor at the Georgetown McCourt School of Public Policy.