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Nevada Cuts Number of Uninsured Kids by Almost Half

A new study shows that an additional 49,000 children in Nevada gained health insurance from 2013 to 2015. (dmarshall/iStockphoto)
A new study shows that an additional 49,000 children in Nevada gained health insurance from 2013 to 2015. (dmarshall/iStockphoto)
October 27, 2016

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- Nevada cut the number of uninsured children by almost half from 2013 to 2015, according to a new report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

Researchers found that the rate of uninsured youngsters went from just shy of 15 percent down to 7.6 percent, which is still much higher than the national average of less than five percent. Denise Tanata, executive director at the Children's Action Alliance of Nevada, said part of the credit goes to Gov. Brian Sandoval, who expanded Medicaid for low-income adults early on, with funding from the Affordable Care Act.

"Once parents are in the door and realize that not only themselves but their children are eligible as well, we've seen a huge increase,” Tanata said.

Nevada still has about 50,000 children who remain uninsured. Many of them are new legal immigrants who must wait five years to be eligible for public benefits. Tanata said the Children's Action Alliance will be pushing the state Legislature to lift that requirement in 2017.

Joan Alker, executive director at the Georgetown Center and co-author of the report, said big things can happen when lawmakers put children's needs first.

"We see success around the country,” Alker said; "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 and the Affordable Care Act and really reduced the number of uninsured children."

This is good news that few people seem to know about, she said. A recent poll showed that half of Americans think the percentage of uninsured children is increasing, and only 28 percent know that the rate is actually going down.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV