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Significant Health Coverage Gains for Latino Children Since Affordable Care Act Took Effect

The number of uninsured Latino children decreased from 2 million in 2013 to 1.4 million in 2015, but potential policy efforts threaten gains

December 15, 2016

Contact:
Kathy Mimberg
(202) 776-1714
kmimberg@nclr.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The number of uninsured Latino children declined sharply as major provisions of the health reform law took effect, according to a new report by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families (CCF) and NCLR (National Council of La Raza). The uninsurance rate among Latino children dropped from 11.5 percent in 2013 to 7.5 percent in 2015—the sharpest decline on record for Latino children. Coverage rates for Latino children reached a historic high of 92.5 percent in the two years after major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went into effect. However, the uninsured rate for Latino children continues to be higher than the rate of all children who are uninsured (4.8 percent).

“One of the great success stories of the past two decades has been the progress our nation has achieved in confronting the untenable problem of children going without health coverage,” said Georgetown University CCF Executive Director Joan Alker. “Just as the United States approaches the point where all kids would have the health coverage they need to succeed, Congress is poised to make a U-turn on this path to progress.”

The improvement in the rate of health coverage for Latino children follows the positive trend in the overall children’s health coverage rate. The trend started with the expansion of Medicaid to benefit more children more than two decades ago, and the creation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in 1997, with subsequent improvements to both programs. The ACA, which maintained and enhanced Medicaid and CHIP coverage for children, accelerated these positive trends.

Despite these improvements, Latino children still make up a disproportionate share of the remaining uninsured children. They account for 25 percent of the child population, but 39 percent of uninsured children. More than two-thirds of all uninsured Latino children lived in just six states: there are more than 800,000 who lack insurance residing in Texas, California, Florida, Arizona, Georgia and New Jersey. Yet, all of these states had a statistically significant decline in both the number and rate of uninsured Latino children from 2013 to 2015.

“Today’s report demonstrates the positive, collective impact that the Affordable Care Act, along with programs such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, have had on increasing the number of Latino children who have access to health coverage,” said Steven T. Lopez, Manager, NCLR Health Policy Project, and one of the authors of the report. “We cannot allow these gains to disappear because of efforts in Congress to undermine the policies that have allowed millions to live healthier lives and be better positioned for brighter futures.”

The 50-state report on uninsured Latino children is based on U.S. Census American Community Survey data. The full report is available at http://ccf.georgetown.edu/2016/12/13/latino-childrens-coverage-reaches-historic-high-but-too-many-remain-uninsured.

The Georgetown University Center for Children and Families (CCF) is an independent, nonpartisan policy and research center founded in 2005 with a mission to expand and improve high-quality, affordable health coverage for America’s children and families. For more information on CCF, please visit ccf.georgetown.edu.

NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.