Providing Access to Preventive Health Care: Child Health and EPSDT
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Citation of Original PublicationNaylor, LA. (2013). Providing Access to Preventive Health Care: Child Health and EPSDT. PA Times.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela stated that “there can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way it treats its children.” As a nation, children are our greatest resource and providing them with health coverage is critical for child development. If we want children to grow up to be healthy, well adjusted, productive citizens, then we must take care of their basic needs. No other federal policy has done more to advance the health and well-being of low-income children than Medicaid (also known as Title XIX). For 45 years Medicaid has provided comprehensive and preventive health care to U.S. low-income children through a special benefits program known as Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT). EPSDT is the child health component of Medicaid. It provides pediatric services to low-income children under age 21 who qualify for Medicaid. Today, 1 in 3 children under age 6 qualify for Medicaid. Enacted by the Social Security Act Amendments of 1967 (Section 302 (a) P.L. 90-248), the program was originally created to address the high rejection rates of military draftees, who suffered from untreated and preventable childhood illnesses (Rowland, Diane. Medicaid at Forty. Health Care Financing Review. Winter 2005-2006 Volume 27 (2): 63-77). Since this time EPSDT has provided comprehensive health coverage to low-income children. Approximately 29 million children receive Medicaid today. (http://mchb.hrsa.gov/epsdt/overview.htm)