For the first time in our country’s history, 95 percent of children have the health care coverage they need to be healthy and thrive, according to a new report by the Urban Institute and funded by the Packard Foundation. As impressive, 97 percent of children ages 0 to 5 have access to health coverage, which improves their ability to receive affordable preventive and primary care, behavioral health and oral and vision care.
This historic achievement could not have happened without the sustained efforts of so many who came together to improve health coverage for children. We know that good health is one of the most important factors for children’s success, and the foundation for good health is health care coverage for kids and their parents. Children with access to quality, comprehensive health coverage are more likely to attend school and stay focused on learning. Having insurance even boosts their future earning potential and helps families have economic security.
Nevertheless, too many children continue to lack coverage, and two of the programs most important for these historic gains, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid, continue to face threats to sustained funding and expansion. Stark differences also remain for children depending on where they live and their age. In Arkansas, we need to continue building off our 95.2 percent coverage rate to finish the job for all of Arkansas’s kids.
That is why the Packard Foundation and Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families are working to protect gains in insurance coverage and announcing a commitment to reach 98 percent coverage for our nation’s children.
At the state level, we will also work to improve access to health care for Arkansas’s children by fighting for the policies that will serve them best.