Nationally the number of children without health insurance dropped between 2009 and 2011, but not in Arizona, a new study says.
Arizona has one of the worst rates of uninsured children in the country, says the report, released Tuesday by Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families.
Nearly 210,000 children in Arizona do not have health insurance, which amounts to 13 percent of the state's children - only Texas and Nevada had worse rates, the researchers found. And unlike most of the country, the rate here got worse between 2009 and 2011, the study shows,
In terms of numbers, the study shows half of the country's uninsured children live in six states, including Arizona. The others are Texas, California, Florida, Georgia and New York.
“Without health care coverage, Arizona children don’t have their own doctor to treat them when they’re sick or keep them healthy for school and all the other activities in their lives,” said Dana Wolfe Naimark, President and CEO of the Phoenix-based Children’s Action Alliance.
“Our own state policies have put more children at risk.”
Arizona is the only state to abandon its federal children's health program for kids from low income working families, known as KidsCare. The state froze enrollment four years ago.
Temporary coverage for kids was created with a combination of hospital funding and federal funds. But that coverage is set to expire at the end of this year and enrollment in regular KidsCare will remain frozen and eventually dwindle down to zero.
The federal marketplace, created through the Affordable Care Act, will offer numerous health insurance options to many Arizona children.
Yet officials with the Children's Action Alliance fear that without restoring the KidsCare program, many of the state's children will remain uninsured.