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Pandemic-era expansion of Medicaid and CHIP increased children’s enrollment by 11 percent

The Medicaid for Every Child Act would ensure that every American child is automatically enrolled in Medicaid at birth, ensuring no child has to live without health care

Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, introduced the Medicaid for Every Child Act. The bill would automatically enroll all children through age 18 in Medicaid.

“As Americans, it is our solemn obligation to ensure every child has the support they need to reach their full potential,” said Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). “Yet right now, too many of our kids are struggling to stay healthy because their families can’t afford the care they need. My Medicaid for Every Child Act will ensure that no American child will ever again be forced to grow up without access to health care.”

Under the Medicaid for Every Child Act, children would be automatically enrolled at birth and would retain that eligibility until the age of 18, with no redetermination requirement. Parents could proactively opt their child out of Medicaid if they have another form of coverage, such as being eligible for CHIP, securing coverage through the marketplace, or having coverage through their employer.

Congress has shown a willingness to provide health care for all children on a bipartisan basis in the past. During the pandemic, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which required states to keep children covered by Medicaid or CHIP. The result was a substantial increase in children’s enrollment in health insurance, which increased by 11 percent from February 2020 to June 2021, demonstrating the significant need for expanded children’s health care coverage around the country. The unwinding of these pandemic-era requirements has put health care coverage for many children at risk as eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP is redetermined across the country. Senator Casey’s bill would mean not one single child would lose access to health care.

Senator Casey believes that we must provide every child the support they need to enjoy a prosperous future. In 2021, he unveiled his Five Freedoms for America’s Children legislation, which would guarantee every American child five core freedoms: freedom to be healthy, freedom to be economically secure, freedom to learn, freedom from hunger, and freedom to be safe from harm. Automatically enrolling children in Medicaid at birth is a part of Senator Casey’s Five Freedoms agenda.

Read more about the Medicaid for Every Child Act here.