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Report: 21,000 NH Kids Have No Health Coverage

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December 3, 2008

Concord, NH - There are 21,000 children in New Hampshire without health insurance . . . and counting. A new report from Families USA tracks trends in the number of uninsured children, and it finds the ranks have been growing as insurance costs rise, and as people lose their jobs.

Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack notes that New Hampshire is one of the states that has done a good job in reducing the ranks of uninsured children through state programs, but it's progress he says has been halted and will be reversed because of the economic crisis.

"Unless something is done by the Congress and the President, I think we're going to see a significant increase in the number of uninsured children."

Pollack notes that a majority of uninsured children in New Hampshire come from working families. Last year, Congress twice passed legislation that would have expanded State Children's Health Insurance Coverage to reach more children, but President Bush vetoed the legislation, saying it was too expensive and would encourage families to drop private insurance.

National Association of Social Workers New Hampshire Executive Director Stephen Gorin says national insurance could be part of the solution, and he sees it as an idea gaining momentum.

"There does seem to be serious discussion at the national level. All the parties concerned, including the insurance companies, recognize that something has to be done."

The numbers in the report come from the U.S. Census Bureau, and reflect insurance status as of 2007. The full report is at www.familiesusa.org.

Deborah Smith/Deb Courson, Public News Service - NH