Rate of Uninsured Children 11.2% in 2001, Down from 13.9% in 1997
The rate of U.S. children without health insurance dropped from 13.9% in 1997 to 11.2% in the first six months of 2001, according to preliminary findings from an annual CDC survey (Meckler, AP/Baltimore Sun, 2/4). The CDC attributed the "significant improvement" in children's health insurance rates to increased enrollment in state CHIP programs (AP/Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2/4). According to the CDC findings, the rate of children enrolled in public health programs such as Medicaid and CHIP increased from 20% in 1998 to 23.1% last year (USA Today, 2/4). The CDC based the findings on results from the 2001 National Health Interview Survey, an annual study of U.S. households conducted since 1997 by the agency's National Center for Health Statistics. HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson "welcomed the news" and said that he would encourage states to expand their CHIP programs. "Insurance coverage means healthier children and healthier families," he said (AP/Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2/4). In addition to the findings on children's health insurance rates, the CDC survey concluded:
- The rate of Americans without health insurance decreased from 15.4% in 1997 to 14.1% in 2001, or about 38.9 million people (Meckler, AP/Detroit News, 2/4).
- About 28% of Americans ages 18 to 24 lacked health insurance in 2001.
- More women had health insurance than men last year, in part because low-income single mothers with custody of their children are covered by Medicaid, while single men who do not care for their children do not qualify for the program.
- About 32% of Hispanics lacked health insurance in 2001, compared to 18.8% of non-Hispanic blacks and 10% of non-Hispanic whites.
- The rate of seniors who received influenza vaccinations dropped last year after several years of increases.
- About one-third of adults last year participated in "regular leisure-time physical activity."
- The rate of obese adults increased from 19.4% in 1997 to 22.5% last year.
- About 22.3% of adults smoked in 2001, "reflecting a continued decline" (AP/Baltimore Sun, 2/4).
The preliminary findings of the study are available at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/about/major/nhis/released200202.htm. This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.