NEW YORK, Nov. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Children's Health Fund (CHF), a national health care nonprofit dedicated to medically underserved children across the U.S., today released a new report titled, "Unfinished Business: More Than 20 Million Children in the U.S. Still Lack Sufficient Access to Essential Health Care."
Children's Health Fund's analyses show that 20.3 million U.S. children—28% of the pediatric population under the age of 18—are without adequate health care is based on three considerations: a) children who are uninsured, b) those who are insured, but do not receive regular primary care, and c) children who are publicly insured, connected to primary care, but do not receive essential and timely specialty care. CHF's conclusions were derived from research into national health data sets as well as its own clinical experiences and programmatic data. "While children's health care has experienced increased and significant attention in recent years, our analyses show there is still a long way to go before we can claim that all U.S. children have access to the care they need. There has been a persistent misconception that simply providing health insurance is the same as assuring effective access to appropriate health care. It isn't," said Dr. Irwin Redlener, Co-Founder and President of Children's Health Fund, and the paper's lead author. "Although Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and most recently the Affordable Care Act (ACA) insure more children than ever before, millions of kids are not getting the care they need." CHF's report offers several actionable recommendations for policymakers as the U.S. prepares for a new presidential administration in 2017. Distinguishing between financial and non-financial barriers, the authors endorse strategies for improving access to pediatric health care. Regarding the former, these include reducing or eliminating costly co-payments and increasing reimbursement rates for providers treating underserved communities.