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Kids and Health Care: Medicaid & Other Government Programs Introduction

In the United States, about 8.1 million children don't have any kind of health coverage, according to 2003 numbers from the Department of Health and Human Services. However, given the various government programs in place at the federal and state levels, the number of children without health coverage should be zero.

Most of those uninsured children live in homes where at least one parent works -- but the household income is less than two times the poverty rate. This means families that are working are poor. According to social services experts, the reason these kids don't have health coverage is that their parents and guardians either don't know that health care programs exist for children...or they don't have time to file the necessary paperwork. These barriers can be overcome.

In this chapter, we'll describe the government programs that provide health care for children and explain what families have to do to get their kids enrolled in these programs.

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