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A contentious Farm Bill heads to U.S. House for debate. Also on our rundown: gaps cited in protections for small-business employees and nonprofit volunteers; plus some warning signs, that increased youth activism may not correspond to voter turnout.

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Report: Children Winning in Effort to Provide Health Coverage

A new report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families finds that 96 percent of children in North Carolina now are covered by health insurance. (Morguefile.com/Lou Bueno)
A new report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families finds that 96 percent of children in North Carolina now are covered by health insurance. (Morguefile.com/Lou Bueno)
October 27, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. – An unprecedented number of North Carolina children are gaining access to health coverage, according to a report released today by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

The report shows that 96 percent of North Carolina children have health insurance with an additional 45,000 children getting coverage since 2013.

Rob Thompson, senior policy and communications adviser with NC Child, says accessing health care opens up a lifetime of doors for the children of the state.

"Health insurance is just the linchpin of being able to access needed medical care,” he points out. “So when kids are insured they stay healthier for sure, they're able to get care for serious medical conditions and that has an impact not just on their current well-being but on their ability to get an education, to stay in the classroom."

Even though more children have insurance than ever before, according to the report, there remain 99,000 children in North Carolina without it.

Nationwide about half of uninsured children live in the South, the report shows.

Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, says while the upcoming general election is highlighting areas where the country disagrees on health care, progress has still been made in securing coverage for those in need.

"We see success around the country, and I think this speaks to how despite all of the fighting and very intense partisanship around the Affordable Care Act, we can feel good as a country that we've come together through Medicaid, CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) and the Affordable Care Act and really reduced the number of uninsured children," she points out.

Thompson says having health coverage as a child helps secure one's financial future.

"There are substantial long term benefits to getting kids health insurance and they involve better educational performance and outcomes, more likely to graduate high school and attend college,” he stresses. “It means that they're going to be more economically secure because they're not going to be exposed to significant financial strain as a result of medical conditions. "

North Carolina continues to miss out on additional federal dollars from the Affordable Care Act by expanding Medicaid coverage.

There are more than 350,000 people in the state who currently make too much money for Medicaid and not enough to qualify for subsidies that would offset health insurance premiums.


Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC