Study: Fewer Minnesota children are uninsured

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The number of uninsured children in Minnesota dropped by 16,000 between 2010 and 2012, according to a new national analysis by Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families.

The number is what officials predicted when Gov. Mark Dayton and legislators expanded access to the MinnesotaCare program last July, according to the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1bZjfzU).

Although the change in MinnesotaCare access can’t be entirely credited for the progress, Elaine Cunningham of the Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota, says she believes it contributed to the gains.

“While we can’t show the direct correlation, we know that expanding and streamlining access to public health care programs decreases the number of uninsured children and ensures more children get the care they need,” said Cunningham, outreach director for the children’s advocacy group.

Minnesota is typically among the five lowest states in the nation for the rate of uninsured adults, but it still ranks 22nd for the rate of uninsured children, with more than 68,000 children still without medical insurance.

Officials with Georgetown University say the shifts in Minnesota and other states represent progress that will accelerate as more families take advantage of subsidies and other coverage options next year under the federal health care law.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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