The number of uninsured children in Oregon decreased by 3.1 percent from 2009 to 2011, tying Texas for the largest decline in the country, according to a new report by Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Children and Families.
“We are proud to see that enrollment efforts have succeeded and that Oregon is leading the country in reducing the number of uninsured children,” said Robin Christian, executive director of Children First for Oregon.
“While we’ve made great progress over the last couple of years, over 60,000 kids in Oregon still lack health insurance. It’s time to get all of Oregon’s uninsured kids into coverage programs that have been proven to work.”
The study, which examined trends from 2009-2011, found that twenty states showed significant declines in their rates of uninsurance among children. Texas tied Oregon in leading the nation, with Florida close behind at 2.9 percentage points.
“Children need health care coverage to grow and thrive so this is good news not only for Oregon’s children but also for the state’s future,” said Joan Alker, co-executive director of the Georgetown University research center. “The success is due to a strong commitment to children’s health coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the protection of children’s eligibility levels under the Affordable Care Act.”
“While Oregon is on the right track, children still have a long way to go to reach the same coverage level enjoyed by older Americans,” according to Alker. “Across the country, about 93 percent of children have health care coverage while the success of Medicaid’s companion program, Medicare, has brought the insured rate for seniors up to 99 percent.”
Only in Massachusetts has the insurance rate for children (98 percent) neared that level as the state has already put in places its own health reform law, a law that the Affordable Care Act was modeled upon.
“Next year will be a critical time for Oregon’s leaders as they make important decisions about bringing home the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for our families,” said Christian. “We can make the next big leap forward for Oregon’s families by taking advantage of the generous federal support to extend health coverage to low-income parents and adults through Medicaid.”
Research has shown that covering parents is good for children as families enroll in coverage together and children are more likely to receive preventive services and other care they need.