Health

September 30, 2020

10,000 More Utah Kids

More Utah Children Lost Health Insurance in 2019, According to Latest National Survey

Last week, the Census Bureau released its annual health insurance data from the American Community Survey (ACS).  The alarming top line news is that children’s health insurance rates have continued, for a third straight year, to decline. Here in Utah, another 10,000 children lost coverage, making 82,000 kids in total without insurance. The percentage of Utah children without insurance has ticked back up to 8%.

This is grim, but sadly not unexpected news. Since 2016, children have been losing health insurance steadily both in Utah and across the country, reversing a decade of progress. Throughout the fall, we will share more in-depth analysis of Utah children’s insurance data, what we can learn from the past three years and solutions moving forward. But here are a few takeaways about kids' coverage in 2019:



The toll is greatest on immigrant children:  The vast majority of immigrant children are eligible for health insurance programs, census 3including CHIP and Medicaid. Only a small number of children in Utah are ineligible for health insurance due to their citizenship status. Nevertheless, anti-immigrant hostilities and policies, like the Trump Administration’s Public Charge rule, keep many families from enrolling their children in health insurance programs for which they are eligible. That’s why we continue to work alongside our partners to counter the “chilling effect” and provide timely and accurate information about the Public Charge rule and other immigration policies.

Behind the numbers: In Utah, Hispanic or Latinx children are disproportionately uninsured. They make up over a third of the uninsured child population, but only 18% of the total child population. However, between 2018 and 2019 it appears that coverage for Latinx children in Utah gained slightly. There may be several contributing factors, but one important driver is the tireless efforts of enrollment & outreach organizations, community health workers, community leaders and others, reaching out to Latinx communities across Utah to help more children get covered.

Has Utah’s strong economy helped or hurt? As we dig through the data, we will examine what impact Utah's economy had on health insurance rates, especially for low-income families on the edge of poverty. Last year's pre-pandemic economy created opportunities for more families to take on new short-term jobs, temporary shifts or gig work. These job changes may have led their children to lose Medicaid or CHIP, while still making affordable private or marketplace insurance out of reach. 

Children below poverty continue to have the highest uninsured rates. 2019 was the year Utah's partial Medicaid expansion went into effect, but many families were confused by this partial expansion plan and whether or not they qualified. Full Medicaid expansion rolled out in January 2020.  As we look to 2021, Utah’s Medicaid Expansion will be even more critical to help children and families who have lost their jobs as a result of the economic downturn.

What lies ahead? In the coming weeks, we will provide additional analysis about coverage loss in Utah over the last 3 years and how we can get kids' coverage back on track.  Health insurance status is one of the strongest predictors of a child’s outcomes later in life. Children with health insurance not only have better health outcomes (which they do), they also do better in school, have higher graduate rates and are less likely to experience poverty as adults. Health insurance provides a foundation for kids to thrive. We must get Utah kids’ coverage back on track for their future, and for our state’s future too.

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July 30, 2020

Children’s Health

A Healthy Foundation for All Utah Kids to Thrive

Children and families need access to affordable, quality, health care. Health insurance provides a critical foundation for kids, so they can stay healthy, manage health conditions or problems, perform better in school, be active and thrive. ALL Utah kids should have access to health insurance. 

Unfortunately, too many Utah children do not have access to health coverage. Utah has:

  • One of the highest rates of uninsured children in the nation, 61,000 children (6%).
  • One of the highest rate of uninsured Hispanic/Latino children in the nation.
  • One of the highest rate of children currently eligible for health insurance, but not enrolled. 

How do we do we reach 100% Coverage and care for Utah kids?

To address these problems, Voices for Utah Children works to strengthen health care access for families. Utah parents are working hard every day to make sure their kids are healthy, we need to make sure our healthcare policies are working for them. We focuses on four pillars of policies to ensure that we reach 100% kids covered in Utah. Additionally, we advocate to protect the integrity of the foundational coverage that CHIP and Medicaid provides by showing the positive impact the programs have on children. Together we can help all kids be healthy and reach their full potential.

Join our 100% Kids Coverage Coalition to ensure all children in Utah have access to coverage and care! Click here to join our campaign today.

  1. Cover All Kids
  2. All Year Round Coverage
  3. Connect Kids To Coverage
  4. Protect Parent Coverage

Great News!

Cover All Kids 2024 Update:

No child should be denied care, but thousands of children are unable to get health coverage or forced to delay or forgo treatment because they lack coverage. We want to make sure all children can have the coverage and care they need this year. This year, thanks to the passage of SB217: Children's Health Coverage Amendments more immigrant children will qualify for coverage. We are ecstatic to monitor and support the implementation of Utah's new State CHIP Program!

All Year Round Coverage 2024 Update:

Currently, only children on CHIP had access to year round coverage. Lack of year round coverage has meant thousands of Utah children possibly losing their health insurance at some point in the year due to red-tape, administrative error, or changing family circumstances. Thanks to changes from the federal government, all children on Medicaid will have access to year round coverage (12-month continuous eligibility) starting January 2024! 

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On March 11, 2020, Governor Gary Herbert took the necessary step of declaring a state of emergency in Utah in order to address the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As the state moves forward with immediate activity to address the health implications of this global pandemic, we also urge lawmakers to consider enacting policies that will help mitigate its economic fallout for families and children in Utah. 

Health Care 

The immediate challenge is to ensure that all Utahns get access to critical health care. No Utahn should be denied access to care or feel afraid to get the care they need. Quickly identifying and treating those who have the virus, while taking all community public health precautions, will enable us to reduce the spread and help to flatten the curve.

We know this pandemic will present unique challenges to Utah’s health care system and to Utah families. In the past two years we have seen one of the largest increases in children lacking health insurance coverage in the nation. This outbreak should remind us that not one of us is truly safe when some of us are vulnerable. We need to immediately create a path for those uninsured children to be provided coverage until this emergency is over.

The state should ensure that the costs of testing and treatment for the coronavirus are fully covered to ensure that all Utah residents can get the care that will protect them, their families and their communities.

In these times, it is also critical that we remove any barriers to care or eligibility, especially for our most vulnerable Utahns. Utah should immediately halt its Medicaid work requirement and new premium payment requirement. At a time of such unprecedented economic change, this will only create additional barriers for families, while enforcement and implementation will waste valuable state resources. The state should suspend other waiver requests to CMS that will further deny care to individuals and families.

In addition, Utah must adopt policies that will ensure children and families can stay covered, which means extending renewal periods, grace periods for returning information and application processing times. This will not only keep families safe, but state eligibility workers as well.

Finally, we call on the state to support outreach and information to help all Utahns feels safe and welcome getting care, and also to provide information about how Utah kids and families can immediately connect with affordable coverage.

In the longer term, we should commit ourselves to covering all children and families in our state, so no one is left without coverage in times like this. And we must work in partnership to strengthen our health care system and our safety net providers, so we are equipped to meet the needs of all children regardless of ethnicity, nationality, immigration status, or where they live in the state. We must ensure families have access to the comprehensive care, including physical, dental, mental and behavioral health care, to ensure all kids can stay on track, stay healthy and thrive.  

Family Economic Security  

Guaranteeing all workers paid sick leave is a proven way to slow the spread of disease and would disproportionately benefit working families who earn low incomes. We are supportive of the action taken at the federal level on March 19, 2020 (the Families First Coronavirus Response Act or FFCRA) and encourage Utah to take immediate action to publicize the protections provided.  Here is an outline of the provisions related to paid sick leave and family/medical leave:

Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies

  • Two weeks (or 10 work days) of paid sick leave
    • Applies to public employers of all sizes and private employers with fewer than 500 employees
    • DOL has discretion to exempt businesses with fewer than 50 employees from providing paid sick days for employees to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed
    • DOL has discretion to exempt certain health care providers and emergency responders
  • Purposes:
    • To obtain a medical diagnosis or care if experiencing symptoms
    • To comply with a recommendation from a public health official
    • To care for an individual who is self-isolating because of a diagnosis or is experiencing symptoms
      • When taken for this purpose, rate of pay is reduced to 2/3
    • To care for a child if school or place of care is closed
      • When taken for this purpose, rate of pay is reduced to 2/3
    • Maximum payment is $511 per day/$5,110 total for self-care, $200 per day/$2,000 total for family care
  • Impact on existing policies:
    • Sick time under the bill must be made available to workers in addition to any employer provided leave
    • Employer cannot require an employee to use accrued time before emergency time
    • Employer cannot require an employee to find replacement workers
  • The law broadly allows for caregiving for an individual under quarantine due to COVID-19. It does not limit caregiving to certain family members.
  • Sunsets on December 31, 2020 

Emergency Paid Leave

  • Amends the FMLA to allow for paid leave in the event of a public health emergency.
  • Purpose: 
    • The employee is unable to work/telework because the employee’s child's school or place of care is closed, or the child's usual care provider is unavailable, due to a COVID-related public health emergency.
  • Family member:
    • Son or daughter under age 18
  • 12 weeks of job-protected emergency paid leave
    • First 10 days may be unpaid 
    • For subsequent leave, employer must pay employee at 2/3 wage replacement, up to $200 per day and $10,000 total
  • Applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees
    • DOL has discretion to exempt businesses with fewer than 50 employees
  • Available to employees who have been on the job for at least 30 days
    • DOL has discretion to exempt certain health care providers and emergency responders
    • Employers of health care providers and emergency responders may elect to exclude such employees from this leave
  • Job Protection
    • Employee has a right to job restoration under the FMLA
    • Exception for employers with fewer than 25 employees under certain conditions
  • Sunsets on December 31, 2020

Workers who do become unemployed, are furloughed, or have their work hours cut due to business downturns or sickness will be the first to feel the economic pain. We should do all we can to speed up the application process for unemployment insurance  and comply with the FFCRA requirements for millions of dollars in federal aid by temporarily providing benefits with no waiting period, waiving employer penalties and job search requirements, and maximizing eligibility levels and benefits so no one is left behind. We should also protect those who face losing their employer-provided health insurance benefits because of an economic downturn. 

Utah needs to adopt official language defining “essential services” immediately. Here is a sample of a definition being used by other state agencies:

“Essential services and sectors include but are not limited to food processing, agriculture, industrial manufacturing, feed mills, construction, trash collection, grocery and household goods (including convenience stores), home repair/hardware and auto repair, pharmacy and other medical facilities, biomedical and healthcare, post offices and shipping outlets, insurance, banks, gas stations, laundromats, veterinary clinics and pet stores, warehousing, storage, and distribution, public transportation, and hotel and commercial lodging.”

Another major problem is that our state has a growing homeless population, both sheltered and unsheltered. The unsheltered homeless lack the ability to self-quarantine and do not have regular access to medical care. The homeless will need shelter, medical treatment, and emergency homeless services. Therefore, the state must urgently convert its unused/underused spaces into shelters.

Lastly, we should place a moratorium on all foreclosures and evictions until we lift the state of emergency. No Utah families or individuals should be made homeless because of this crisis. 

Young Children 

With school and child-care facility closures, and work disruptions, a pandemic presents unique challenges for families with young children. In order to maintain a strong early learning and care system through this pandemic, lawmakers should enact practical policies to ensure that families of preschool-aged children are supported and to protect child-care workers and centers – many of which are small businesses operating on very slim margins – from an economic crisis. School-level reactions to the needs of families with young children – such as continuing to run school-based food programs – are very encouraging. We also need to support families with young children who are not yet school aged, including infants and toddlers, but who continue to have nutritional needs at this time. We recommend that state officials direct food retailers to set aside WIC-approved foods for families participating in that program, while also increasing flexibility for families with regards to food purchased as part of the WIC program.

We are pleased to note that state leaders have adjusted child-care subsidy payment policies to account for this unprecedented strain on our child-care sector. We encourage state and local leaders to invest in a wage supplement program for early childhood care and education provider. Such programs must include not only child-care center workers, but also home-based and family child-care providers. Payment policies should be adjusted so they are based on enrollment of children, rather than attendance. Finally, the state should do an immediate review of all safety net programs statewide and streamline all processes during this crisis. 

Food security

In Utah, we have a large number of children that depend on school meals for consistent access to food. Based on our most recent data, 36.1 percent of our children participate in the free and reduced-price school lunch program. As schools in Utah will be closed until at least March 30, the state must take immediate steps to ensure that children enrolled in these meal programs have some other access to the meals they will be missing at school.

The state should also be taking steps to minimize food insecurity including: increasing the state Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) supplement to provide more benefits for recipients; establishing a food distribution system to provide meals for food-insecure families; extending the certification for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to 60 days; streamlining SNAP by exempting families from certain requirements, such as work or education and training requirements; and lastly, making SNAP application available online, by mail, or telephone. 

Juvenile Justice

The current situation demands that we refrain from creating unnecessary groupings of people. To that end, we strongly encourage law enforcement throughout the state to restrict arrests and citations of young people to only those most serious, injurious offenses. With very few exceptions, youth should not be taken to detention centers, as our juvenile justice professionals are already working overtime to maintain the cleanliness and safety of those facilities. In addition, as non-essential court activities have been delayed, a reduction in arrests and citations now will prevent unnecessary overwhelm of the juvenile court system when normal operations come back online. 

We also strongly recommend that juvenile justice facility managers - including those who operate official state and county youth facilities, as well as community-based placements such as treatment facilities and group homes, exercise the utmost caution with the young people in their care. At the same time, this caution regarding health and safety must be balanced with an understanding of the need of these youth to maintain connections with their family, friends and loved ones. We encourage flexibility with regards to the use of technology for video and telephone visits while people engage in social distancing at the governor’s recommendation. If this situation should persist past the next two weeks, juvenile justice administrators should consider instituting health-related protocols (such as taking of temperature, monitoring for other symptoms, and issuance of personal protective equipment) that would allow family members and other loved ones to visit youth in custody. 

Economy

The Coronavirus Recession has already begun, is going to hit faster than any previous recession, is immune in some ways to traditional stimulus (because social distancing limits government's ability to restore consumer spending before the pandemic is addressed), and states need to act fast to take full advantage of the coming federal actions and make the recession shorter and shallower rather than longer and deeper (such as with inaction and budget cuts). 

We must resist the urge to cut expenditures on vital services like education and health care. We have seen first-hand how important these areas have been in the current crisis.

Given the immediate need for support, we believe that this is the time to use a portion of our rainy-day fund. The additional money will help officials respond to the outbreak without jeopardizing commitments lawmakers made to fund important priorities in the recently completed legislative session.

We should look at a tax increase on those most able to afford them and reinvest that revenue into specific areas identified during the crisis. This would be a solid investment in the long-term health and prosperity of our state.

Summary

Given the rapidly evolving nature of this crisis, we recognize that many of the recommendations listed above are currently being discussed at both the state and federal level. We encourage our state leaders to take bold and decisive measures to ensure the health and well-being of all the residents of our great state. The focus of Voices for Utah Children is to advocate on behalf of the children and families of Utah. We will continue to update developments as we receive information. Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions or concerns. I can be reached at .

Moe Hickey

CEO

Voices for Utah Children

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Let’s Keep All Families Covered: New Report Finds Number of Uninsured Latino Children in Utah on the Rise

2020 Utah Legislature Made Strides to Help All Children Stay Covered

Decades of progress improving health coverage rates for Latino children has begun to erode nationwide, and Utah is seeing significant increases in both the number and rate of children going without insurance, according to a new report by UnidosUS and Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. These findings raise concerns that many children may not be able to access the health care they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Utah’s rate of uninsured Latino children rose faster than the national average, a statistically significant increase from 11.1 to 17.3 percent between 2016 and 2018. The number of children increased by about 60 percent, from about 18,900 to more than 30,200. What’s more, Latino children are almost 3½ times as likely to be uninsured as non-Latino children in Utah in 2018, a gap that is greater than the national average.

The report authors point to Trump Administration policies and rhetoric targeting immigrant families, as well as efforts to undermine health care programs, which have made it more difficult for families to sign their eligible children up for public health coverage. These national factors may influence children in Utah and the trend in the wrong direction.

During the 2020 Legislative Session, the Utah Legislature took a significant measure to reverse this trend and improve coverage for all Utah children by appropriating funding to keep children covered, a policy known as Medicaid 12-month continuous eligibility. Continuous eligibility ensures children can maintain stable, year-round health coverage, even if parents experience temporary changes in income or employment status, especially important given the abrupt changes many low-income families are experiencing now.

State Senator Luz Escamilla, champion for 12-month continuous coverage and children’s health care, said: “Health coverage is critical for all children because it improves their health and educational outcomes during childhood and sets them up for a healthier and more prosperous future with better opportunities to reach their full potential.” Said Senator Escamilla, “The actions this session show that working together we can make progress to help Utah kids.”

A policy of continuous coverage is a key priority of the 100% Kids Coverage Campaign, led by Voices for Utah Children, to ensure that all children in the state have health coverage. The campaign also calls for more Medicaid and CHIP outreach and coverage for children regardless of their family immigration status. Report lead author, Kelly Whitener notes, “The majority of uninsured children are eligible for affordable health coverage through Medicaid or CHIP but not enrolled.”

Voices for Utah Children policy analyst, Ciriac Alvarez Valle said, “Going forward, we will work to help more children and families get covered and overcome barriers to enrollment and care.” Alvarez Valle added, “No family should be afraid to get the care they need. We call on our state leaders to help Utah families feel safe getting health care now.”

For help enrolling in health insurance, visit: www.takecareutah.org  or call 2-1-1

For the full report: https://ccf.georgetown.edu/2020/03/10/decade-of-success-for-latino-childrens-health-now-in-jeopardy/

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It’s been a busy end-of-year for Utah kids’ health coverage, from ACA open enrollment to full Medicaid expansion (almost!). Here’s what’s been going on and what lies ahead in 2020...

Where are Utah kids going??


At the last Utah Medicaid Advisory Committee meeting, we learned that 398 children dis-enrolled from Medicaid and CHIP in October. While this is better than the 2,637 who lost coverage the previous month (no, that’s not a typo), the question remains: Where are these kids going?? Are they moving over to the private insurance market? Or are they uninsured? Unfortunately, we still don’t know.

American Community Survey data suggest lower income children are the most likely to be uninsured in Utah. However, we do not have good real-time data to track why Utah kids are dis-enrolling from Medicaid or CHIP at such an unprecedented rate.

Reasons for this coverage loss may include red tape and confusion about children’s health insurance options, and federal anti-immigrant hostilities creating a climate of fear for many families. But again, our best data has a one-year lag time. It is critical we make sure kids are getting connected with health insurance now. We know from research that when kids go uninsured it has a negative impact on their life trajectory.

We commend our state agencies for their attention to this issue; we urge them to survey families who recently lost coverage so that we can make sure kids are getting covered and staying covered.

Full Medicaid expansion*… coming soon to Utah?

In November, the Utah Department of Health submitted its “fallback” waiver request to fully expand Medicaid! On December 7th, the federal comment period closed. THANK YOU to the over 4,800 people who submitted federal and state comments.

We now await federal approval for Utah to enact full Medicaid expansion. It’s been a long, complicated road, but we just might get there. Find out if you’re eligible for Medicaid.

*Unfortunately, this is not exactly the expansion Utahns voted for. Our state is tacking on harmful work requirements, premiums, surcharges and red tape to Medicaid coverage for the newly eligible. These added requirements will make it harder for Utah parents and children to get care. If approved, we will work hard to prevent these provisions from causing families to lose the coverage and care they need.

Have a story to share about how Medicaid coverage will make a difference in your life? Share your story here.

Open Enrollment: Last Day to Apply is December 15th!

In need of health insurance for you or your family? Call 2-1-1 or visit TakeCareUtah.org to learn more about the health insurance marketplace.

What’s coming up in 2020?

We are excited to see many opportunities- big and small- to help Utah kids and parents get connected with health insurance in 2020:

  • Expanded texting support to help kids and families connect with coverage, thanks to an exciting new campaign through United Way of Salt Lake.
  • Medicaid outreach from the Utah Department of Health! The Department is hiring outreach workers to help eligible individuals learn about Medicaid expansion. This is an exciting step to help more parents enroll.
  • Finally, the Utah Department of Health will -hopefully- be releasing guidelines for Medicaid ACOs, which will allow them to remind eligible members of their upcoming renewals. Many eligible individuals often lose coverage when their renewal is due. (Legislation passed in 2019 on this issue, but the guidelines have yet to be released)

… And so much more! Here’s to a 2020 where more Utah kids and families can get access to affordable health coverage and care!

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Going Down a Scary Path: Utah kids are losing health insurance

Over the past two years, Utah has seen an alarming increase in our child uninsured rate. After years of steady progress, it is frightening to see kids lose health insurance. 7.4% or 72,000 Utah kids now lack health insurance, when only 6% or 59,000 kids were uninsured in 2016. We are seeing some of the most significant coverage decline among young children, age 0-5, an age when it is so critical for kids to have access to have screenings, check-ups and care. Why is this happening? Over the past two years Utah and our nation have experienced an unpredictable health care environment, affecting CHIP, Medicaid expansion and the ACA, leading to misinformation and confusion; administrative complexity and lack of continuous coverage leading to disruptions in kids coverage; anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric leading families to feel unwelcome and unsafe enrolling in programs. These are scary barriers keeping Utah kids from getting the care and coverage they need and Voices for Utah Children will be working hard to keep Utah from continuing down this path any further.

Tricks and Treats

After a roller coaster summer, the Utah Department of Health is submitting a waiver proposal to expand Medicaid, fully, up to 138% of the federal poverty level. Currently, Utah has only partially expanded Medicaid. Partial expansion has meant that more individuals are eliglble for Medicaid, but also that thousands of individuals and parents are still shut out of coverage, while Utah pays more money to cover fewer people. We are excited for Utah to take this step closer to full Medicaid expansion, as voters supported.

But unfortunately, this latest waiver proposal also includes harmful, additional barriers such as work reporting requirements and additional cost requirements for enrollees. These added requirements will make it harder for Utah parents and children to get coverage and care. Comments are needed to prevent these harmful requirements from moving forward.

We need your help to get Utah back on the right track to full expansion (the ‘treat’ without the tricks!). Submit your comments today to stand up for full Medicaid expansion, without additional barriers or restrictions.

Finally, the Public Charge rule was recently blocked in the courts. The Public Charge is postponed until further notice. But we still have work ahead of us and we must undo the damage already done as a result of anticipation of this harmful rule, and other anti-immigrant hostilities.

Learn more about the latest developments in the Public Charge rule here.

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Tell the Governor and Lawmakers: Time for Utah to Move Forward with Full Medicaid Expansion, without Barriers, Restrictions or Delays!

In August, Utah’s request for a “partial” Medicaid expansion was rejected by the federal government. What does this mean? Utah state officials are now preparing a plan for full Medicaid expansion, which could mean that thousands of more individuals would be eligible for Medicaid coverage. We anticipate seeing this new plan sometime in the fall. But the plan could include some additional restrictions and barriers to care. What can you do? Tell the Governor and state leaders to move forward with full Medicaid expansion now, without barriers or delays. The rejection of Utah’s “partial” expansion is good news for kids & families in need of care, but we must continue to advocate for full expansion, without harmful restrictions, as the voters intended! Stay tuned for more updates soon!

Alarming Decline in Children’s Health Insurance: We Can and Must Do More to Help Utah Kids Stay Covered

Recently, the Census bureau released national figures on children’s health coverage. Unfortunately, the data confirmed what experts suspected: More children are becoming uninsured. Most of the coverage loss is occurring among children who previously had Medicaid or CHIP. We will have more updates soon about children’s specific coverage loss here in Utah. But we know that on average 1,000 kids a month are losing CHIP or  Medicaid coverage. Why?

For one thing, we are seeing the impact of our current political climate and federal policies that are hostile to immigrants; there is a clear chilling effect causing many immigrant and mixed status families to not enroll or to withdraw their children from Medicaid or CHIP. The recently-released Public Charge rule, and other policies, are creating a climate of fear and uncertainty for many families.

Another reason for this coverage loss: Utah lacks consistent outreach funding and continuous eligibility policies that can help kids get enrolled and stay enrolled. We need to make sure that we are doing all we can here to help streamline the process and connect kids with coverage. We are grateful to be working alongside community partners and state agencies to address this decline and keep kids covered.

The bottom line: It is unacceptable to see this loss in children’s health coverage, after so many years of progress. When children go uninsured, it has ripple effects throughout their lives. Kids without insurance are not only at a higher risk for poor physical and mental health outcomes, but also miss more days of school and have lower graduation rates; their families are at greater risk for medical debt or bankruptcy.

What can you do? Join the 100% Kids Coverage Campaign so that no Utah child goes uninsured. Together we can achieve 100% coverage for Utah children and create a Utah where all children feel welcome.

Spread the Word to Help More Families Stay Covered

Families can contact 2-1-1 to find out if they’re eligible for CHIP or Medicaid. You can apply for CHIP or Medicaid anytime!

Learn more about the Public Charge rule so we can help families get connected with the most up-to-date and accurate information.

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This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the nation’s largest group of pediatricians, warned that racism can have devastating long-term effects on children’s health.

The warning comes in a new policy statement titled, “The Impact of Racism on Child and Adolescent Health,” developed by the AAP’s Council on Community Pediatrics, Section on Adolescent Health, and Committee on Adolescence. The full statement is available at https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2019/07/25/peds.2019-1765 and will be published in the August issue of Pediatrics.

This policy statement is the first the AAP has issued to its members on the dangers of racism. Doctors involved in the report said the current political and cultural atmosphere makes the work to end racism more urgent.

The Utah Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Voices for Utah Children applaud this policy statement. We join pediatricians in calling upon members of the public to help prevent racism and ensure race equity, and recommend, as an important action step, championing and embedding inclusion within their organization.

 “Racism affects (and harms) each of us individually and all of us collectively.  This statement is so vital and timely in that it encourages us to directly examine these effects and make the changes in ourselves, our families and our organizations that will allow us to recognize and benefit from the richness of our diversity," says Paul Wirkus, MD, President of the Utah Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

As the KIDS COUNT designated organization in Utah, Voices for Utah Children is committed to race equity and inclusion.  The AAP’s new policy statement reinforces the importance of the work Voices is doing to ensure that the data we collect, analyze and disseminate is disaggregated wherever possible to uncover patterns of racial inequity. We encourage public institutions, government agencies, and community stakeholders to become deeply invested and committed to using this disaggregated data in their decision-making process so they can more effectively manage and allocate resources to help children and families.

To gain a deeper understanding of how specific groups of people or specific geographic areas of our state are faring, it is important to disaggregate data. This policy statement highlights the need for the collection, analysis and use of data that is broken down by race and ethnicity,. Data broken out this way helps to more clearly underscore trends and disparities, develop targeted strategies and provide greater accountability.

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