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Georgetown University analysis shows 119,000 NC children without health insurance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 5, 2018

Contact: Fawn Pattison, Communications Director

RALEIGH – The number of uninsured children nationwide increased by about 276,000 children last year, the first significant increase in a decade, according to a new report released by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. An estimated 3.9 million children were uninsured nationwide in 2017.

Three-quarters of the children who lost coverage between 2016 and 2017 live in states that have not expanded Medicaid. The analysis shows that in North Carolina, which has not expanded Medicaid, there was no statistically significant improvement in the child uninsured rate from 2016 to 2017. In all, 119,000 or 4.8 percent of the state’s children remain without health coverage.

“With an improving economy and low unemployment rate, the fact our nation is going backwards on children’s health coverage is very troubling,” said Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University research center and a research professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy. “This report, particularly for states that did not expand Medicaid, is a warning sign to policymakers. Barring new and serious efforts to get back on track, there is every reason to believe the decline in children’s coverage is likely to continue and may get worse.”  

“These data provide more compelling evidence for why it’s so important for North Carolina to find a way to insure those who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but don’t earn enough to buy private health insurance,” said Ciara Zachary, Health Program Director at NC Child. “In other states, Medicaid expansion has helped to get health insurance to more parents who otherwise have no coverage options. We know when parents have health coverage kids are more likely to as well. This helps kids get healthy, and stay healthy so they can enter school ready to learn and succeed in life,” Zachary said.

This is the eighth annual report on uninsured children published by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, an independent, nonpartisan policy and research center founded in 2005 with a mission to expand and improve high-quality, affordable coverage for America’s children and families. The Georgetown University Center for Children and Families is based at the McCourt School of Public Policy.

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