At Age 50, Medicaid Gives Wisconsin Families Reason to Celebrate
Research Finds Long-term Benefits for Covering Kids
Medicaid turns 50 today, which is cause for celebration for Wisconsin children and families. It is a critically important source of health care and financial security for low-income families and individuals, including children, parents, pregnant mothers, seniors, and people with disabilities.
In Wisconsin, Medicaid helps finance BadgerCare and provides health insurance coverage for roughly 1.2 million people, including about 500,000 children.
A new report from the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University synthesizes the emerging body of research that underscores the importance of Medicaid for kids and families, including long-term benefits for children that last through adulthood. Highlights of the research findings pertaining to the sustained benefits for kids include:
- Long-term health benefits – Children with access to Medicaid showed a 26 percentage point decline in the incidence of high blood pressure in adulthood and had lower rates of hospitalizations and emergency room visits as adults.
- Improved academic performance – Children who benefited from the Medicaid eligibility expansions were less likely to drop out of high school (a 9.7% decline) and more likely to graduate from college (5.5 percent increase).
- Greater economic success as adults – Children who had Medicaid earned higher incomes later in life and were more likely to surpass their families’ economic status, making them less reliant on safety net programs.
These findings illustrate Medicaid’s value not only as a key source of health coverage for children, but also an investment in their future. As we celebrate Medicaid’s 50th anniversary, it’s clearer than ever why we need to preserve and strengthen it for future generations of children.