American children are out of school, out of food and increasingly getting chucked off their health insurance. Yet somehow, they seem to be an afterthought in this election.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic struck, the number of children without health coverage had been rising. Between 2016 and 2019, the number of uninsured kids rose by 726,000, according to recently released Census Bureau data. The tally has probably risen further this year, too, given job losses during the pandemic (and, with them, employer-provided health insurance). A new report from Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families estimates that an additional 300,000 children have become uninsured in 2020.
If correct, this would mean that since President Trump took office, more than 1 million children have lost their health insurance — bringing the total number of uninsured kids nationwide to about 4.7 million.
Without health coverage, children are less likely to get critical screenings (such as hearing and vision tests), vaccines and other preventive care, or simply adequate treatment whenever they do get sick — with covid-19 or otherwise. Losing these early investments in children’s health can have serious, and expensive, long-term consequences as these kids grow up.