They make too much for Medicaid but not enough to have their own insurance.
And 150,000 patients per year, nationwide, get free care from 21 mobile units provided by the Children's Health Fund. But a new report out Thursday from this non-profit group says far too many kids are falling into a huge health care crevice, CBS News has learned exclusively.
The group's report finds despite billions of dollars in government spending, more than one in four children still don't have full-time health care — a gap twice as big as anyone thought, CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports.
"It's more than just insurance and lack of insurance, that are keeping children from getting medical care," says Dr. Irwin Redlener, president of the Children's Health Fund of Columbia University.
It's estimated that 9 million children are completely uninsured. But the new study says 11.5 million more kids end up without medical care for part of the year. And another 3 million can't get a ride to the doctor. That's more than 23 million children.
To close the gap, Redlener is on Capitol Hill lobbying for a dramatic expansion of the $5 billion federal Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. Redlener wants to add 9 million people to CHIP, plus dental and mental health benefits and transportation.
The price tag for all that? "Really what we need is $60 billion. Between $50 and $60 billion," he says.
Getting that type of government assistance may be a long shot, but Redlener says it's cheaper than the cost of neglecting the medical needs of a generation of children.