Number of Uninsured Children Drops to Lowest Level Since 1987; Outlook Bleaker for Parents and Other Adults

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The Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute, an authority on health insurance issues, explains why health insurance coverage rates improved for children in the U.S. Census data released today.

This is a testament to the effectiveness of public programs in covering children as a majority of states maintained or strengthened their Medicaid and/or Children's Health Insurance Programs despite tough economic times

The new Census report shows that the number of uninsured children in the United States is at the lowest level since 1987. In 2008, there were 7.3 million uninsured children, a decline of 800,000 from 8.1 million in 2007. This progress occurred despite reductions in private health insurance coverage and a difficult economic climate according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau today.

"This is a testament to the effectiveness of public programs in covering children as a majority of states maintained or strengthened their Medicaid and/or Children's Health Insurance Programs despite tough economic times," said Jocelyn Guyer, Co-Director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute

In 2008, the year reflected in the Census report, 19 states moved forward in covering more children, according to the Center for Children and Families. This trend continues in 2009 as a result of enactment earlier this year of the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) and the economic recovery package, according to Guyer.

"To continue the positive momentum for children and to address the critical need for affordable health coverage for their parents and other adults, Congress should quickly pass meaningful health reform legislation."

While the Census figures paint an encouraging picture for uninsured children, the numbers are much more bleak for parents and other uninsured adults.

"The health and wellbeing of children depends on whether they have access to affordable, high-quality health coverage, but can also be dramatically affected by the health of their parents and the financial stability of their families."

The Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute closely tracks and analyzes state and federal health coverage policies and the impact on children and families. For up-to-date information on how states are handling the increasing demand for affordable health coverage and analysis of national health reform proposals, visit CCF's website Center for Children and Families @ Georgetown University Health Policy Institute or Say Ahhh! A Children's Health Policy Blog.

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