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Childrens' Health; Access to Health Care; Safety Net; Quality Improvement


One aspect of the SCHIP reauthorization debate that has received more limited attention than it deserves is the relationship between children's health insurance coverage and family health literacy. That is, to what extent is children's health insurance associated with higher health literacy, and to what extent is reduced parental health literacy linked to lower rates of health insurance among children? This association is extremely important, since there is strong evidence of a link between health literacy and the appropriate use of health care. Evidence suggests that when previously uninsured children are covered by health insurance, parents at all income levels make significantly more appropriate use of health care. Expanded health insurance coverage has been shown to be associated with improved access to health care and an increased rate in families who report a regular source of health care.

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