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National Survey Shows Number of Uninsured Children in Mississippi Declined

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 20 Nov 2013 09:59am | comments

Close to nine thousand Mississippi children gained health care coverage between 2010 and 2012. That's despite a national  survey released today  which shows most Americans believe the number of uninsured children has increased in the last five years.  MPB's Lawayne Childrey has more on the Georgetown University study.

While poverty rates for children in the U.S. remain historically high, the survey shows the number of children in Mississippi with insurance has also increased by one point one percent.  Wesley Prater, Senior Health Policy Analyst for Georgetown University Center for Children and Families says even though the state is on par with the national average it remains far from perfect.

"In terms of the number of uninsured kids in Mississippi there is an estimated 55 thousand children that still remain uninsured. So I kind of think of it as that's enough children to almost fill up the Veterans Memorial Stadium. So there's still room for improvement that the state and leadership can make.

According to the Division of Medicaid Website more than 354 thousand low income children are enrolled in Mississippi's Children's Health Insurance Program also known as CHIP. Prater says policy changes to the state’s Medicaid system could result in thousands more children being insured.   

"The research is clear that children are more likely to receive preventive care and other healthcare services they need when their parents are covered. But we think that the way to get more parents covered would be for the state to accept the federal money and expand Medicaid that’s offered by the affordable care act."

But Dr. Jameson Taylor with the Mississippi Center for Public Policy doesn't believe accepting money from the Affordable Care Act is the cure all for Mississippi.

"What we find is that 25 percent to 50 percent of kids leave private insurance to get on Medicaid. But when that happens they get trapped in a failing system and expanding that failing system is not a solution."

The study shows that nationwide the number of uninsured children has declined to 7 point 2 percent. That number is 7 point 3 percent in Mississippi.  Lawayne Childrey, MPB News.

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