AHA: MORE THAN 14% OF NATION’S CHILDREN ARE UNINSURED
More than 14% of children lack health coverage and access toThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
health care, according to a study compiled by the Employee
Benefit Research Institute for the American Hospital Association
(AHA). AHA President Dick Davidson said, "How can we expect
children to learn and grow up to be productive individuals unless
we make sure they have the basic necessities they need to thrive?
Access to health care is one of those necessities -- not a
luxury, a necessity."
FINDINGS: According to the study, which appears in the
latest issue of "Emerging Trends," AHA's quarterly report on
health care trends, more than one out of every five children in
Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas lack health
insurance. In another eight states, the percentage of children
without insurance surpasses the national average of 14.4%.
Vermont and Wisconsin had the lowest rates of uninsured children
-- both states had rates below 6.5%. The study also found that
Hispanic children are much more likely to be uninsured than
children of any other racial or ethnic group. The study found
that in 1994, 29% of Hispanic children had no coverage, compared
with 17% of black children, 11% of white children and 15% of
children of other racial or ethnic groups. AHA policy analysts
"were struck by the level" of uninsured Hispanic children. James
Bentley, AHA senior vice president for policy, said, "This may
reflect the number of Hispanic workers holding jobs that don't
offer health insurance." The study also found that children
living in families with income levels between 100% and 150% of
the federal poverty level are less likely to be covered than poor
children eligible for Medicaid (AHA release, 10/31).