The following blog post is by Danielle Kilchenstein and Judy Darnell from United Ways of California.

Health coverage is a critical piece of the puzzle to ensure overall health for any person, but perhaps most importantly for our children to ensure they’re on a path to success. Today, United Ways across California are celebrating good news about children’s health. The number of uninsured children dropped from 7% (over 700,000) to 3% (still over 300,000) between 2013 and 2015. While still too many children cannot access regular, preventive care, the trend shows we are definitely on the right path.

A new report released by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families highlights this trend across the country and celebrates historic declines in the number of uninsured children. Nationally, 95 percent of children had health coverage in 2015. California is leading the way with 97 percent insured. 

Of course, this didn’t happen magically or overnight. More of our nation’s children are covered because of the hard work of national, state and local leaders lead in great part, sometimes pushed, by effective children’s advocates. 

United Ways of California has worked steadily on this issue in California since 2004, with our partners in our CA Children’s Coverage Coalition (The Children’s Partnership, Children Now, Children’s Defense Fund-CA, PICO California, California Coverage and Health Initiatives). 

The Affordable Care Act and the opportunity California leaders took to expand Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California), helped more families get covered by removing barriers to coverage and expanding and sustaining affordable coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for more children. 

We know when children have access to comprehensive and preventive quality health care, we can both help them move towards success in life as well as prevent more serious and costly health issues later. They’re more likely to enter each school day healthy and ready to learn. The increase in health coverage rates will almost certainly be linked to more children being able to achieve their full potential in the years to come. 

Here at United Ways of California, we continue to work toward the goal of health and dental coverage and quality care for everyone. While we celebrate these gains, over 300,000 children in California lacked health coverage in 2015. We are making greater gains this year by adding over 150,000 children to the full-scope (comprehensive coverage) Medi-Cal rolls. But, we won’t stop until we can ensure the implementation of Health For All Kids so every child has timely access to quality medical and dental coverage and care that will lead to great success in school and future financial stability. 

Join us in celebrating the great advances we have achieved and a healthier tomorrow for California’s children. Click here to read our full press release.