By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Despite the controversy over the Affordable Care Act, a new report shows there is good news when it comes to children’s access to healthcare.
The Georgetown University Center for Children and Families used US census data to find that the number of uninsured children is on the decline across the country between 2010 to 2012.
“Both the Medicaid and the CHIP programs are working together to reduce the number of uninsured children,” says Joan Alker, Executive Director at the Center for Children and Families.
She says the report, Children’s Healthcare Coverage on the Eve of the Affordable Care Act, shows the number of uninsured children has dropped about 25% nationwide since 1997.
And Pennsylvania and New Jersey are doing better than average, with only 5.1% of children uninsured.
However, progress is stalling in the Commonwealth because of enrollment process red tape.
“Pennsylvania in the last few years made it a little bit more difficult for families to enroll, which halted the progress,” says Alker.
She says another factor causing the stagnation in Pennsylvania is the Commonwealth’s failure to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
“Kids are more likely to get insured if the whole family has an offer of coverage,” says Alker, “New Jersey is moving in the right direction but in Pennsylvania it’s unclear.”
New Jersey ranks 10th when it comes to number of insured children. Pennsylvania ranks 23.
Alker says Latino children and children living in rural areas are more likely to be uninsured.
“They could boost the number of insured children by targeting these populations,” says Alker.
Alker predicts Pennsylvania stalling trend is likely to continue if the obstacles to access remain.