Study Finds Children’s Health Measures Have Improved, But Many Still Lack Insurance
While teen births in California are down and more women are receiving prenatal care, the state still has the seventh-highest rate of uninsured children in the nation, according to a new study of children's quality of life by the advocacy group Children Now. The Los Angeles Times reports that the group included several health statistics in its wide-ranging study, titled the "California Report Card 2001" (Rivera, Los Angeles Times, 11/28). The report found that the rate of California women of all races receiving prenatal care in the first trimester improved to 83.6% in 1999 from 81.8% in 1997 and 82.4% in 1998. Meanwhile, the rate of teen births among teenagers ages 15 to 19 decreased from 75 per 1,000 in 1991 to 50 per 1,000 in 1999 ("California Report Card 2001," 11/2001). Still, 20% of California children, or 1.85 million, are uninsured, placing the state ahead of only six others in its rate of coverage for children (Los Angeles Times, 11/28). The report recommends that the state address the problems it identifies by simplifying the enrollment procedures for Healthy Families and Medi-Cal and making it easier for families to maintain coverage (Children Now release, 11/28). Amy Dominguez-Arms, vice president of Children Now, said, "It's so important in this era of budget cuts and tight fiscal picture that policymakers realize that investing in K-12 education isn't go to pay off unless we pay attention to other factors," such as health insurance, "that ensure kids are going to succeed in school" (AP/Fresno Bee, 11/28). The full report, regional data and charts can be found at http://www.childrennow.org/newsroom/news-01/pr-11-28-01.cfm.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.