Early Arrival: Children Enrolled In New Jersey Medicaid Craters

Documented — October 30, 2019

By Max Siegelbaum
Co-founding Editor and Senior Reporter at Documented

The number of children enrolled in New Jersey's state Medicaid program is at a five-year low after a loss of 50,000 kids in the past year and a half, a new study shows. The biggest areas of coverage loss came from Asian and Hispanic children in the state, between 2017 and 2018. They make up more than half of uninsured children statewide, according to New Jersey Policy Perspective, authors of the study.

While children from those communities lost coverage, black and white children have increasingly became insured, according to the research group. Representatives from NJPP and New Jersey Citizen Action, another statewide research organization, blamed the racial disparities in coverage on fears drummed up by the Trump administration. Last year, one in seven adults in an immigrant family avoided a public benefit program because of the fear of losing legal status or being targeted by the administration, according to the Urban Institute.

The public charge rule was halted in the federal courts, but its effect is still felt across the state. Erika Nava, a policy analyst with NJPP, called it an "invisible wall" that makes it harder for immigrants to get help they're eligible for. "It should be easy for every child to obtain health care without fear, but unfortunately that is not the case," said NJPP's health care policy director Ray Castro, who wrote the report. "This harmful trend helps explain the precipitous decline in New Jersey Family Care." NJ Spotlight

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