Child advocates build back better Crucial for UT Kids Health/Public News Service

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah health care reform advocates are lobbying the U.S. Senate to pass the Build Back Better Act.

They say it would improve Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The bill has already been passed in the House.

It would provide 12 months of continuous coverage for Medicaid-eligible children. It would also require states to extend Medicaid postpartum coverage from 60 days to 12 months for new mothers.

Jessie Mandle, deputy director of Voices for Utah Children, said the bill would “ease the barriers” Utah families have faced in insuring their children.

“This will help reverse the trends we’ve seen in terms of loss of insurance for children over the past few years,” Mandle said. “This is truly going to absolutely change the trajectory of children’s health insurance in our state and give children the coverage and care they need to thrive.”

According to Utah CHIP officials, families of four earning $53,000 a year or less are eligible for affordable health coverage under the program. Opponents of the Build Back Better Act say the nearly $2 trillion price tag is too expensive.

Mandle pointed out that Build Back Better would permanently fund CHIP, so it wouldn’t have to be renewed in Congress every few years. It would also make it easier for Utah and other states to expand eligibility.

“Coverage disruptions impact the overall health of children,” Mandle explained. “Having the 12-month continuous eligibility provision in Build Back Better would really be a game-changer for kids here in Utah.”

Joan Alker, executive director of the Center for Children and Families and co-author of the report, found that during the early years of the Trump administration, one in 10 children experienced a lapse in insurance coverage during their lifetime. ‘a year.

“These coverage gaps were more common among Latino and Black children, and 50% of children who had a coverage gap did not see a doctor for the entire year we examined,” reported Alker.

As of May 2021, Utah had enrolled a total of 415,000 people in Medicaid and CHIP, a net increase of 41% since 2013.

Disclosure: The Georgetown University Center for Children and Families contributes to our Children’s Issues and Health Issues Reporting Fund. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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