California Ranks 12th in Nation for Decline in Uninsured Children
State Still has Higher Number of Uninsured Children than National Average
October 23, 2012
According to a new report by the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Children and Families, the rate of uninsured children in California declined 1.5 percent between 2009 and 2011, which ranks the state 12th in the nation for the decline in the child uninsured rate. Despite this decline, in 2011, some 8 percent, or approximately 745,000, of California children still lacked health insurance, higher than the national average of 7.5 percent and ranking the state 35th in the nation.
“Health care coverage helps children thrive and grow, so the fact that more children are covered is good news for California’s kids and our state’s future,” said Peter Manzo, President & CEO at United Ways of California. “We have been moving in the right direction thanks to the strength of the Healthy Families and Medi-Cal programs, which makes the upcoming transition of Healthy Families kids into Medi-Cal even more important to get right and continue to ensure that there is no disruption in access to providers for both the Healthy Families kids and the children currently served in Medi-Cal.”
Nationally, the number of children living in poverty remained high but the number of uninsured children decreased from 6.4 million in 2009 to 5.5 million in 2011. The study, which examined trends from 2009-2011, found that twenty states showed significant declines in their rates of uninsurance among children, including California. Texas and Oregon led the nation with declines of 3.1 percentage points, with Florida close behind at 2.9 percentage points. For some of these states, such as Texas and Florida, it was easier to make progress because they started with such a high rate of uninsured children to start with, according to the Georgetown University researchers.
“California’s commitment to coverage, including strong home-grown programs and the state’s leadership on implementation of the Affordable Care Act, has put us on the right track,” said Suzie Shupe, Executive Director at California Coverage & Health Initiatives (CCHI). “The challenge ahead of us is to ensure that we don’t lose any of the notable gains we’ve made and to remain focused on reducing the number of uninsured children so that we get closer to or below the national average.”
“This reduction in uninsured children is fantastic news for our state’s children and families, said Wendy Lazarus, Founder and Co-President of The Children’s Partnership. “With the implementation of health care reform just around the corner and our state’s commitment to successfully transition nearly 900,000 children from Healthy Families to Medi-Cal, it is finally within our reach to ensure that every child in California receives high quality health coverage.”
“While California and the rest of the country are making progress, children still have a long way to go to reach the same coverage level enjoyed by older Americans,” according to Joan Alker, Co-Executive Director at of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families research center. “About 92 percent of children have health care coverage in California while the success of Medicaid’s companion program, Medicare, has brought the insured rate for seniors up to 98 percent.”
Advocates in California are working to improve the rate of coverage for our state’s children and ensure that they enjoy the benefits of coverage, including access to the care they need for a healthy start in life and financial peace of mind for their families. Access to health insurance coverage is a critical indicator of children’s well-being and helps ensure that they can see a medical, dental, or vision provider when they need one.
The Georgetown University Center for Children and Families (CCF) is an independent, nonpartisan policy and research center. The full report is available at http://ccf.georgetown.edu/.
United Ways of California (UWCA) is the state association for California’s local member United Ways. UWCA works to improve the health, education and financial stability for low-income children and families by enhancing and coordinating the advocacy and community impact work of California’s United Ways. UWCA is a strong advocate of expanding health coverage to all California children and their families. United Ways work closely with local community and business leaders, state and federal legislators, and volunteers to promote this achievable and important goal. http://www.unitedwaysca.org
California Coverage & Health Initiatives (CCHI) is an association of local Children's Health Initiatives (CHIs) in 24 California counties, 17 Outreach & Enrollment partners and contacts in 54 of 58 California counties covering the geographic area where 95% of the state’s population resides. Members of CCHI have insured more than 167,000 previously uninsured children in locally-funded Healthy Kids programs. CCHI members and partners have an extensive network of Certified Application Assistants, Promotoras, and health outreach workers. With firsthand experience and success enrolling children into public programs, such as Medi-Cal and Healthy Families, as well as administering local Healthy Kids programs, the members of CCHI have shown that coverage for all children in California is a reachable goal. http://www.cchi4families.org
The Children's Partnership (TCP) is a national, nonprofit child advocacy organization working to ensure that all children - especially those at risk of being left behind - have the resources and the opportunities they need to grow up healthy and to lead productive lives. TCP focuses particular attention on securing health coverage for uninsured children and ensuring that the opportunities of digital technology benefit all children and families. http://www.thechildrenspartnership.org
Children Now is a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization working to raise children's well-being to the top of the state and national policy agenda. Children Now focuses on ensuring quality health care, a solid education and a positive media environment for all children. http://www.childrennow.org
Children's Defense Fund-California is the California office of the Children's Defense Fund, a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for nearly 40 years to ensure a level playing field for all children. The Children’s Defense Fund champions policies and programs that lift children out of poverty, protect them from abuse and neglect, and ensure their access to health care, a quality education, and a moral and spiritual foundation. http://www.cdfca.org