The number of area children without health care insurance is slowing inching up – a red flag, according to children’s advocates who track the impact on families. The trend matches what is being seen throughout the state.
A new report from the Georgetown University for Families and Children shows 2.7% of Iowa children lack health insurance. That’s up about 1,000 children from two years ago.
That might not seem like a lot, but Anne Discher, executive director of the Child and Family Policy Center at the Iowa Department of Human Services, says it’s a sign that progress has been reversed.
Georgetown has compiled the nationwide rates for uninsured children for nine years. The report says continual efforts to undercut the Affordable Care Act has made health insurance harder to get, or kept families from enrolling their children.
The report notes one group with the most pronounced loss of coverage is Latino children, possibly due to immigrant parents’ fear of interacting with the government.
Discher says Iowa children with health insurance are more likely to attend school regularly and because they have access to medicine, they’re less likely to be absent due to chronic diseases such as asthma.
Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, says the trend of fewer children having health coverage doesn’t bode well for a nation experiencing a strong economy.
The study found the number of uninsured children in the U.S. increased by more than 400,000 between 2016 and 2018, bringing the total number to 4 million nationwide.