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Report: More TX Children Have Health Insurance

PHOTO: A new report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families finds that many Americans believe the number of uninsured children continues to grow, even though the opposite is true. Photo credit: Christiaan Triebert
PHOTO: A new report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families finds that many Americans believe the number of uninsured children continues to grow, even though the opposite is true. Photo credit: Christiaan Triebert
November 20, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas - Despite the slow economic recovery, progress is being made in getting health insurance for more children in the United States - even though most people may not believe that.

A new survey found that a majority of Americans think the number of uninsured children has risen over the past five years - but a report from Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families said no.

Laura Guerra-Cardus, associate director of Children's Defense Fund Texas, confirmed that the figure actually has declined.

"This report really illuminates that maybe sometimes we're talking a little too much of the work we have left to do," she said. "and people have been left with the impression that we haven't actually made big gains in coverage."

According to the Georgetown report, more than 650,000 children gained health coverage between 2010 and 2012.

Much of the credit for the expanding number of children with health coverage goes to programs such as the Children's Health Insurance Program and Medicaid, which Guerra-Cardus said could help even more if Texas were to expand its program, as many other states already have done, "because it does have a very direct impact on children.

"Studies show that when parents are covered, children are more likely to get health care coverage, stay on health care coverage and actually access care."

Despite the state rejecting Medicaid expansion, the number of uninsured children in Texas fell by 133,000 between 2010 and 2012. That's the largest drop in the nation, and Geurra-Cardus said that when the new Affordable Health Care policies come online, all children will at least have a path to coverage "whether it's Medicaid, CHIP or through the marketplace.

"Our job in 2014 is to make sure that Texas families are taking advantage of these options, because we should be able to drastically reduce the number of uninsured children in Texas."

Even with the recent improvements, Texas still has the highest number of uninsured children in the nation at more than 860,000.

The report and poll are online at ccf.georgetown.edu.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - TX