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AL nonprofit urges Medicaid expansion to save rural hospitals; Harris skipping Netanyahu address shows daylight with Biden on Israeli leader; Biden to give first speech since dropping out of race; IN students face stricter attendance rules, new reading requirements; New Missouri law ensures medication access.

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Kamala Harris builds momentum toward nomination and vets potential Veeps. She and Trump take aggressive stances, as plans for a September debate continue. Sen. Bob Menendez says he'll resign, but will also appeal his corruption conviction.

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There's a gap between how rural and urban folks feel about the economy, Colorado's 'Rural is Rad' aims to connect outdoor businesses, more than a dozen of Maine's infrastructure sites face repeated flooding, and chocolate chip cookies rock August.

Report: More Virginia Kids Getting Health Insurance

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Thursday, November 21, 2013   

RICHMOND, Va. - Most headlines about health insurance have been discouraging these days, but here in Virginia, there's good news about coverage for kids. A new Georgetown University Center for Children and Families report found that Virginia has seen a 14 percent decline in the number of uninsured children since 2010.

Jill Hanken with the Virginia Poverty Law Center credits joint federal and state programs: Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), known as FAMIS in Virginia.

"Both programs together cover hundreds of thousands of children in Virginia who otherwise would not have access to quality health insurance. Medicaid is for children who have family incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty line and the FAMIS program goes up to 200 percent," Hanken explained.

Two hundred percent of the federal poverty level is about $47,000 a year for a family of four in Virginia. The report revealed that about 94 percent of children in Virginia had health insurance coverage, compared with 86 percent of adults under age 65.

Georgetown Center for Children and Families executive director Joan Alker said even though the poverty rates are increasing, Virginia has been successful making sure children stay insured through those programs.

"Very few Americans are aware of the success that our country has had through Medicaid and CHIP in reducing the number of uninsured children, and I think that's an important 'good news' story that needs to get out," Alker said.

However, Hanken said, too many children are still not enrolled in the state.

"We don't want any eligible child to remain uninsured, and the data still shows we have tens of thousands of children we need to find and get enrolled in these programs, so we still do have work to do," Hanken said.

The report is available at http://ccf.georgetown.edu.




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