Figures released yesterday by the U.S. Census Bureau paint an alarming picture of poverty in America. But there’s a slice of positive news for Washington families: Our state remains a good place for kids to get access to the health care they need.
Washington state’s award-winning children’s health coverage plan, Apple Health for Kids, can take the credit.
The number of Washington kids who have no health coverage has dropped significantly in the past 10 years, according to the Census Bureau; the total percentage of uninsured kids (5.3 percent) is well below the national figure of nearly 9.7 percent.
Our progress in connecting kids to health care held steady through the recession. Between 2006 and 2010, nearly 165,000 children lost health coverage via their families’ employers -- but Apple Health for Kids was in place to catch them before they fell. Apple Health for Kids has enrolled more than 208,000 more children since the outset of the recession, the Census figures report.
Washington state has worked hard to build a health insurance program for kids that’s been recognized as a national model. We’re still working on it: Last month, the state was awarded an additional $2.4 million from the federal government to make sure more eligible kids are covered.
That’s great news, because more than 101,000 Washington children still lack health insurance. Without coverage, they’re far more likely to face chronic, costly, tragic medical conditions that could have been prevented through a routine visit to a dentist or doctor.
More than one hundred thousand uninsured kids: that's a whole lot of reasons to make sure Apple Health for Kids continues to offer families the peace of mind that, whatever the economic times, their children’s health is secure.