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Pediatrics. 1997 May;99(5):E2.

Children at risk: their health insurance status by state.

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  • 1Division of Health Policy Research, American Academy of Pediatrics, Elk Grove Village, IL 60009, USA.



To inform policymakers and child health advocates about children's health insurance coverage in each state as Congress debates proposals to restructure the Medicaid program amidst declining employer-based dependent health insurance coverage.


Multiple years of data from the March supplement of the Current Population Surveys were pooled to yield more reliable estimates of changes in children's health insurance coverage in each state from 1987 to 1993.


Overall, the number of uninsured children grew by nearly 1 million between 1987 and 1993. The proportion of infants and children <7 years old without health insurance declined; the proportion of uninsured children between the ages of 7 and 22 increased. Between 1987-1990 and 1991-1993, six states experienced a significant increase in the number of uninsured children, only two states experienced a significant decrease in the number of uninsured children, although no progress was found in reducing the number of uninsured children in 43 states. Between 1987-1990 and 1991-1993, the proportion of children covered by employer-based private insurance decreased significantly in three-fourths of the states and the proportion of children with Medicaid coverage increased significantly in four-fifths of the states.


In a period of fast-declining employer-based health insurance coverage for dependents, Medicaid expansions have worked to moderate the surge in the number of children without health insurance. Of the 30 million children without private health insurance in 1993, nearly 18 million were insured by Medicaid. As policymakers debate the future of the Medicaid program, they must consider seriously its role as the country's largest insurer of children's health and its efficacy as a vital safety net for the nation's children.

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