Though Washington has made great progress toward providing all kids with health coverage, an estimated 78,000 remain uninsured, and it’s a problem that plagues American Indian children at much higher rates than any other group.
About one in five Native American children in Washington (22.4 percent) had no health insurance at any point in 2008, compared to 17.7 percent of Hispanic children, 8.6 percent of Asian children, 7.8 percent of black children and 6.2 percent of white children, according to the latest statewide data from Washington Kids Count.
Many children in Washington state’s 29 federally recognized tribes are eligible for Apple Health for Kids – which provides preventive medical, dental and mental health care and treatment to children who qualify for Medicaid, CHIP and other programs.
But parents often don’t know their kids are eligible. That’s why outreach efforts have played such a critical role in getting children signed up for Apple Health for Kids.
During the 2010 legislative session, the Children’s Alliance fought hard against a proposal to wipe out state funding for Apple Health for Kids outreach. But in the end, lawmakers slashed $425,000 that organizations all over the state could have used to connect more eligible kids to coverage.
We are working closely with the Department of Social and Health Services and hope that the state will figure out a way to keep critical outreach efforts going.
We also hope that nearly $1 million in recently awarded federal grants will help five Native American tribes and urban health organizations in Washington get more of their children signed up for Apple Health for Kids.
The Lummi Nation, Makah Indian Tribe, Seattle Indian Health Board, Colville Confederated Tribe and Yakama Indian Health Center are among 41 tribes, tribal organizations, health service programs, and urban Indian organizations in 19 states that received a total of $10 million in grants in mid-April.
• News release: Tribal health outreach grants, April 2010
• Uninsured WA children by race, Kids Count, 2008
• "Apple Health for Kids: A prescription for economic stability," Children’s Alliance, January 2010
- Maria Manza