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Parental Medicaid Expansions Can Have a Spillover Effect on Children's Health Use


​​Children from low-income families whose parents are enrolled in Medicaid are more likely to receive recommended well-child visits, according to the study, "Spillover Effects of Adult Medicaid Expansions on Children's Use of Preventive Services," in the December 2017 issue of Pediatrics (published online Nov. 13). The study examined the relationship between 50,622 parent-child pairs and health care status. Researchers found that parental enrollment in Medicaid was associated with a 29 percentage point higher probability that their child received an annual well child visit. Well-child visits serve as the primary platform for delivery of preventive services to children, and children who receive these visits are more likely to complete immunization schedules and are less likely to have avoidable hospitalizations. Given the suboptimal rates of well child visits occurring in low-income families, the authors conclude that these findings suggest that efforts to expand Medicaid coverage for low-income parents can have a beneficial spillover effect on children's preventive care receipt. Likewise, reductions in Medicaid coverage for parents could have unintended effects on low-income children by reducing their likelihood of receiving recommended preventive care. 


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds