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Arizona Makes Huge Progress in Getting Children Covered

From 2013 to 2015, the total number of uninsured Latino children in Arizona fell nearly 30 percent. (David Amsler/Flickr)
From 2013 to 2015, the total number of uninsured Latino children in Arizona fell nearly 30 percent. (David Amsler/Flickr)
December 15, 2016

PHOENIX – Arizona has one of the largest populations of Latinos in the country, and a report released Thursday shows the state is making huge strides in ensuring its Latino children have access to health insurance.

According to the findings from the National Council of La Raza, from 2013 to 2015 the total number of uninsured Latino children in the state fell nearly 30 percent, to 31,000.

Report co-author and NCLR Health Policy Project manager Steven Lopez says it's a major milestone after decades of persistent work.

"Our report demonstrates the collective impact that the Affordable Care Act, along with programs such as Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, have had on increasing the number of Latino children who have health coverage today," he states.

Lopez notes that while Arizona made significant progress, the state's uninsurance rate for Latino children of 10.6 percent still is much higher than the national rate of 7.5 percent. There are about 704,000 Latino children living in Arizona.

About 25 percent of U.S. children are Latino, but account for 39 percent of all children who are uninsured.

Lopez maintains work needs to be done to address those gaps. He says investing in the health of Latino children today is an investment in the overall future health and success of the nation.

"Latino children are projected to make up one out of every three children in this country in the next couple of decades, and Latinos overall are projected to make up one-third of the U.S. workforce by mid-century," he points out.

To expand the progress made insuring children, the report recommends continued improvements in health coverage programs, including the federal insurance marketplace and the Children's Health Insurance Program, along with investments in community-based, culturally sensitive outreach efforts.

Arizona ranks fourth among states in the report for the number of uninsured children.


Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - AZ