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Arizona Among National Leaders In Uninsured Kids

Published: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 6:24am

A new report from a national health policy center shows Arizona has among the highest rates of uninsured kids in the country. 

The Center for Children and Families at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute found the rate of uninsured children is declining nationwide. Last year, it was a bit higher than 7 percent, but in Arizona, more than 13 percent of kids do not have health insurance. That gives the state the third highest rate of uninsured children in the country, behind Nevada and Alaska.

Dana Naimark, president and CEO of Children’s Action Alliance, said that is not surprising, since Arizona is the only state to have frozen its Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as KidsCare. She said the rates should get somewhat better, once the Affordable Care Act kicks in at the start of next year.

"I still expect Arizona to be behind other states, however, because we have that missing piece of KidsCare that’s going away here, but every other state has it," Naimark said.

Naimark said her group’s top priority is getting kids enrolled under the federal exchange or in Medicaid. The Georgetown report found about half of the uninsured kids in the U.S. live in six states. They are Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, Arizona and North Carolina.

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