The annual New Mexico Kids Count Data Book released Tuesday shows the most improvement in measures of children’s health, but little improvement in measures of family economic well-being.
The data book, a project of New Mexico Voices for Children, showed declines in the rate of babies with low birth weight, in children without health insurance, and in teens abusing alcohol and drugs. The teen birth rate has also declined, following a similar national trend.
These gains can be “tied directly to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which extended Medicaid coverage to low-income adults,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children. “This means more kids are getting well-child check-ups, vaccinations and help with chronic problems such as asthma.”
The possibility that the ACA may be repealed “won’t have a huge impact” on children, said Voices for Children spokeswoman Sharon Kayne, “because most of the kids who got covered were from Medicaid-eligible families, and they should still be covered under Medicaid.”