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Report: Medicaid Improves Kids' Long-Term Health and Education

Medicaid improves a child's long-term health and economic success, according to a new report. Credit: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.
Medicaid improves a child's long-term health and economic success, according to a new report. Credit: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.
July 28, 2015

PHOENIX – Children who benefited from Medicaid expansion are more likely to have better health, get a good education and earn more money, according to a new study from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

The report, linked to the 50th anniversary of Medicaid on Thursday, found that adults who were enrolled in Medicaid as children have lower rates of emergency room visits and hospitalizations and lower blood pressure.

Jon Ford with St. Luke's Health Initiatives in Phoenix says healthy kids become successful students – and successful adults.

"Kids who have care and coverage are the ones who end up having better school attendance records, better school achievement," he says. "It's kind of difficult to have a solid foundation in life without starting off healthy."

The research also found that kids who had Medicaid coverage were less likely drop out of high school and more likely to graduate from college.

Report co-author Joan Alker, executive director with the Georgetown Center for Children and Families, says research on today's adults who were Medicaid recipients as children finds they've grown up to have higher incomes. That means they pay more taxes and have been less reliant on societal safety-net programs.

"The value of these studies is to actually look at the numbers," she says. "What all of these studies show is that Medicaid is providing an incredibly valuable service to kids, and that the taxpayers are getting a great return on their investment."

Today, Medicaid provides coverage for about 33 million children, or 37 percent of all children in the U.S. The program also benefits millions of low-income seniors and people with disabilities.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - AZ