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Health Care for Low-Income Working Families After Welfare Reform

By Jocelyn Guyer

The "delinking" of welfare and Medicaid eligibility that was part of welfare reform in 1996 and the State Children's Health Insurance Program enacted by Congress in 1997 have combined to alter the advocacy landscape significantly. States now have broad flexibility to expand health coverage for both parents and children, and they have been somewhat successful in expanding coverage for children. Low-income working parents often lose coverage as they leave welfare, however, despite continuing Medicaid eligibility. States may be reluctant to promote expanded health coverage for low-income working families until doing so is recognized as a critical component of successful welfare reform.

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