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Report: PA Child Health Care Headed in Wrong Direction

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Most of the Pennsylvania counties with the highest rates of uninsured children are in rural areas. (pingpao/Adobe Stock)
Most of the Pennsylvania counties with the highest rates of uninsured children are in rural areas. (pingpao/Adobe Stock)
 By Andrea Sears - Producer, Contact
November 9, 2020

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A new report shows the number of children in Pennsylvania without health insurance is growing and children's advocates are concerned those numbers could get worse.

According to the 2020 State of Children's Health Care Report from Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, nearly 128,000 kids in the Keystone State are uninsured, the eighth-highest number in the country.

Kari King, president and CEO of the organization, pointed out that number represents an increase over last year's report, from 4.4% to 4.6%.

"That's a little bit lower than the national average of 5.7% but the state is heading in the wrong direction when it comes to kid's health insurance, which is really troubling," King explained.

She noted the threatened repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could drive the number of uninsured children even higher.

King cites a report from the Urban Institute, which stated overturning the ACA would lead to more than 21 million Americans nationwide losing their health insurance.

"That would include 1.7 million children if the ACA is overturned," King confirmed. "And in Pennsylvania that would include 77,000 children under age 19."

She added in the Commonwealth children under six years old and children from low-income families are more likely to be uninsured.

King emphasized parents need to be aware of the options available and how they can access that health insurance for their children.

"They can do that through Pennsylvania's new health insurance marketplace called Pennie, which you can find online, or the CHIP program in Pennsylvania or the Medicaid program."

King concluded ensuring children's access to health care is key to their life-long learning and future success.

Disclosure: Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children/KIDS COUNT contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Early Childhood Education, Education, and Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
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