The Question of Health Care Access for Children

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In 2012, only 85.8% of Georgians with eligible children were participating in the Medicaid/CHIP program. Nationwide the rate of enrollment is only 88.1% of eligible children. (“Medicaid/CHIP Participation Rates Among Children: An Update” 2014) After twelve months 30% of eligible children are not reenrolled. (Sommers 2006) Designed to provide health care coverage for children whose parents have too high an income to qualify for Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, CHIP was passed in 1997. But parents/caregivers are not taking full advantage of this. Lack of access to medical care is, without question, detrimental not only to the children but to society as well. (Sommers 2005) Why are these numbers so dismal? Are there changes in policy that could be made to improve this situation?
Multiple barriers in both households as well as the provider side exist. Administrative issues such as red tape, delayed payments by Medicaid/CHIP programs as well as lower reimbursement rates overall have been prompting health care providers to deny access or prolong the appointment time for as much as one month. (“Children on Medicaid Shown to Wait Longer for Care”) The following figure illustrates the major difference in how/ or even if patients are scheduled depending on the type of insurance they are currently enrolled in.
(“Auditing Access to Specialty Care for Children with Public Insurance — NEJM” 2014) On top of these problems, the I.R.S., along with the

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