The number of children in the United States without health insurance jumped to 3.9 million in 2017 from about 3.6…
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After years of steady decline, the number of US children without health insurance increased by 276,000 in 2017, according to a report from Georgetown University, published Thursday.
While not a big jump statistically, the proportion of unsecured children increased to 5 percent in 2017 from 4.7 percent a year earlier – it is still striking. The uninsured interest rate usually remains stable or falls during economic growth times. In September, the US unemployment rate reached its lowest level since 1969.
“The nation goes back on insecure children and is likely to get worse,” says co-author Joan Alker. to the study and chief executive officer of the Georgetown Center for Children and Families.
Alker and other advocates for child health are blamed for this change at the Trump administration and the Republican controlled congress, saying Republican politics and actions have broken into enrollments in health plans.
The number of children in the United States without coverage increased to 3.9 million in 2017 from approximately 3.6 million the year before, according to census data analyzed by Alker Georgetown Law.
The overall uninsured interest rate for people of all ages – which fell from 2013 to 2016 after the implementation of health care – was unchanged at 8.8 percent last year.
s Hearing of children with employer-sponsored health monitoring rose modestly in 2017, says Alker, but not enough to compensate for the decline in children entering Medicaid or to get coverage from Obamacare Insurance Exchange.
Although no states made significant progress in reducing the proportion of uninsured children, nine states saw their numbers going the wrong way. The largest negative changes occurred in South Dakota (where the proportion of uninsured children rose from 4.7 percent to 6.2 percent), Utah (from 6 percent to 7.3 percent) and Texas (from 9.8 percent to 10 , 7 percent).  More than 1 in 5 uninsured children across the country live in Texas – about 835,000 children – the absolute highest number of states.
Florida had 325,000 uninsured children last year, as the uninsured interest rate for the age group increased 0.7 percentage points to 7.3 percent. California had 301,000 children without insurance. The number remains virtually unchanged compared with the previous year.
Other states with significant increases were Georgia, South Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Massachusetts.
The uninsured interest rates for children increased almost three-fold prices in states that did not expand Medicaid under the Price Protection Act, according to the report. Studies have shown that children whose parents are insured are more likely to get health .
Georgetown has tracked these figures since 2008, when 7.6 million children – or about 10 percent of the children – lacked health coverage.  As almost all low-income children are entitled to Medicaid or the federal child health insurance program, the challenge is sure parents are aware of the programs, “said Alker, enrolling the children and keeping them informed as long as they are eligible.
Congress allows the CHIP Program Financing to expire for several months in 2017, enabling states to warn families that notification would soon be frozen. Congress restored federal funding in early 2018.
In addition, low-income families were bombarded by news reports last year that Congress threatened to lift health legislation that extended coverage to millions. And in the last two years, the Trump administration has reduced funding for Obamacare navigators who help people to sign up for coverage.
Alker points to the September proposal of the Trump administration, called the “public fee” rule as another factor that may have led to fewer children receiving health insurance. The rule can make it more difficult for legal immigrants to get green cards if they have received some types of public assistance – including Medicaid, food stamps and housing grants. Green cards allow these legal immigrants to live and work permanently in the United States.
OLE Health, a major healthcare provider based in Napa Valley, California, serving many immigrants, says it has seen patients leave Medicaid rolls last year. CEO Alicia Hardy says that many have lost coverage for fear that the help could endanger their immigration status.
“They are afraid to be expelled” she says.
All these events may have discouraged families from getting their children covered.
“The welcome mat has been withdrawn,” says Alker, “and as a result, we see more uninsured children.”
She says that the easiest way to change the trend would be that more states would expand Medicaid according to health legislation. Fourteen states have not yet done so. Although the expansion largely affects adults, as parents register, their children will probably follow.
Kaiser Health News An ideal news service, is an editorial independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation and not connected with Kaiser Permanente. KHN’s coverage of child health problems is partially supported by a grant from Heising-Simons Foundation .