Despite the poor economy and an increase in the number of adults without health insurance, the uninsurance rate among children has declined from 9.3 percent to 8.0 percent nationally, a report from Georgetown University finds. The researchers are attributing the drop to growing access to the children’s Medicaid program as a result of the Affordable Care Act (states that reduce their eligibility are penalized), President Obama’s re-authorization of CHIP in 2009, and the additional stimulus funds that helped states maintain their safety-net health care programs.
Thirty-four states experienced decreases in the number of uninsured children between 2008 and 2009, with Florida seeing the most significant drop. Massachusetts still leads the nation with the lowest rate of uninsured children, while Nevada continues to have the highest. Seven states are now home to a higher rate of uninsured children, “but in only one state, Minnesota, was that increase significant“:
There are 16 states with a higher rate of uninsured children than the national average, 30 states with lower rates, including D.C., and five states with rates that are not statistically different from the national average.
States with rates that are higher than the national average are concentrated in the West and the South, while the majority of states with rates below the national average are located in the Northeast or the Midwest.
Just six states (Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, New York, and Texas) account for more than half of the children without insurance nationally.