The impact of Medicaid on children's healthcare and health

Curr Opin Pediatr. 2005 Dec;17(6):759-63. doi: 10.1097/01.mop.0000187189.89542.b5.


Purpose of review: This article reviews the impact of the Medicaid program, including the proportion of children in America insured by Medicaid; the extent to which Medicaid-enrolled children have access to care; the use of services and the quality of care received by Medicaid enrollees, including evidence for disease reduction; and family satisfaction with the program.

Recent findings: More than a quarter of all children in the United States were insured through public programs, primarily Medicaid, in 2002. Public insurance programs are even more critical for low-income children: 69.5% of children in families with incomes below 100% of the federal poverty level are covered by public programs. The reach of Medicaid is extensive, although substantial numbers of eligible children remain uninsured. Although Medicaid-insured children still face access barriers, particularly for certain types of specialty care, parents of children with public insurance report high levels of satisfaction with their experience with well-child care. While the study findings are mixed, several recent studies show very favorable comparisons between the experience of privately insured children and that of publicly insured children.

Summary: Medicaid plays a critical role in providing health insurance coverage for children, particularly for very low-income families. Additional efforts are needed to fully enroll all eligible families and to assure full access to high-quality care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Health Services / economics
  • Child Health Services / standards*
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics
  • Health Services Accessibility / standards
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Medicaid / economics*
  • National Health Programs / economics
  • National Health Programs / organization & administration
  • United States