Study Finds Drop in Percentage of Uninsured American Children
The number of U.S. children without health insurance dropped by 6% last year, a statistic that might be a result of more children becoming eligible for government-sponsored coverage because their family's income declined, according to a Families USA report, the Boston Globe reports.
According to the report, about 500,000 children gained insurance between 2006 and 2007. Meanwhile, about 500,000 children were in families whose income declined to below the federal poverty level (Wangsness, Boston Globe, 11/26).
The report found that Texas had the largest number of uninsured children, followed by California, Florida, New York and Georgia.Â Texas also has the greatest percentage of uninsured children, followed by Florida, New Mexico, Arizona and NevadaÂ ("Left Behind: America's Uninsured Children," Families USA, November 2008).
California is home to about 1.3 million uninsured children, about 12.5% of the state's children (Walters, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 11/25).Â
Washington, D.C., had the smallest number of uninsured children, while Massachusetts had theÂ smallest percentage of uninsured childrenÂ ("Left Behind: America's Uninsured Children," Families USA, November 2008).
Overall, more than 11% of children nationwide, or about one in nine, had no health coverage in 2007, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. The report also found that 88.2% of children without insurance come from families with at least one working parent, and more than half live in two-parent homes.
In the study, Families USA wrote that the statistics bolster the case for expanding SCHIP.
The report showed that Massachusetts -- which in 2006 passed a law requiring that all state residents be insured -- had the lowest rate of uninsured children between 2005 and 2007, at 4.6%, compared with a national median of 9.2% during that period.
Although children in Massachusetts are exempt from the mandatory insurance regulation, SCHIP eligibility guidelines were relaxed, according to the Globe.David Lemmon, communications director for Families USA, said that Massachusetts is "obviously doing something right" (Boston Globe, 11/26). 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.