8.4M U.S. Children Lacked Health Coverage in 2003, Study Finds
The number of uninsured U.S. children decreased by about two million to 8.4 million between 1998 and 2003, and 70% of those children qualified for public health insurance programs such as Medicaid or SCHIP but were not enrolled, according to a study released on Tuesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CQ HealthBeat reports. According to the report, which was released as part of the sixth annual RWJF Covering Kids and Families Back to School Campaign, 20% of Latino children lacked health insurance, compared with 9% of black children and 6% of white children (CQ HealthBeat, 8/2). For the report, analysts from the Urban Institute and the State Health Access Data Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota examined recent surveys conducted by CDC and the U.S. Census Bureau. The report found that almost one-third of uninsured children received no medical treatment for a one-year period between 2002 and 2003.
Latino children accounted for 41.4% of the uninsured children who received no medical treatment for the one-year period, black children accounted for 29% and white children accounted for 25.7%, according to the report. The report also found significant differences among states in the rates of uninsured children who received no medical treatment for the one-year period. Arizona had the highest rate at 47.1%, followed by Nevada at 43%, Oklahoma at 41.7%, Texas at 40.5%, New Mexico at 40.3% and Georgia at 37.8% (Johnson, AP/Las Vegas Sun, 8/2).
States with larger immigrant populations appeared to have the highest rates, according to the report (Keim, AP/Arizona Daily Star, 8/3). In addition, the report found that only six states had rates less than 20%: Maryland at 14.8%, Massachusetts at 15%, Rhode Island at 17.4%, Pennsylvania at 18.5%, New Jersey at 18.9% and Maine at 19.9% (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 8/2).
"The number of uninsured children continues to be in the millions," U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona said, adding, "No child should go without health care" (Dvorak, Washington Post, 8/3).
Elaine Arkin, manager of the RWJF campaign, added, "These are obviously working families. A lot of times both parents work, they may have two jobs, so they think their children are not eligible" (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 8/3). The report is available online. Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report.
CBS' "Early Show" on Tuesday included an interview with Carmona about the number of uninsured children and the RWJF campaign (Syler, "Early Show," CBS, 8/2). The complete segment is available online in Windows Media. Related CBS coverage is available online.