October 29,2019

Press Contact:

Taylor Harvey (Wyden) 202-224-4515 

CJ Young (Pallone) 202-225-5735

Wyden and Pallone Demand Answers From Trump Administration on Unprecedented Rise of Uninsured Children

Nearly Half a Million More Children Did Not Have Health Coverage Last Year

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr., D-N.J., today called on the Trump administration to detail how and why it has presided over an unprecedented rise in the number of uninsured children in the United States, and what it plans to do to reverse this trend. Their request follows new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau showing that 425,000 additional children were uninsured between 2017 and 2018.

“We write to you regarding our serious concerns with the continued and unprecedented increase in the number of uninsured children in the United States. This is a disturbing trend that the administration should be looking to correct, but, instead, your administration has applauded the enrollment declines among children,” Wyden and Pallone wrote. “We believe that these historic coverage losses among children are the result of overly burdensome and faulty eligibility and renewal processes, diminished resources for outreach and enrollment assistance, and policies that instill fear and confusion among immigrant and mixed status families.” 

The letter, sent to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, comes as multiple measures show consistent declines in coverage among children under the Trump administration. In addition to the census data, over 830,000 children lost Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage in 2018 nationwide and cumulative enrollment losses from December 2017 through May 2019 have now surpassed one million children.

“The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in coordination with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), must take immediate action to ensure that all eligible children are enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP,” Wyden and Pallone continued in their letter Secretary Azar. 

The full letter can be found here.