Report: Ranks of Pa.’s uninsured children grew between 2016-19 | Tuesday Morning Coffee

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Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

The number of uninsured children in Pennsylvania has grown slightly over the last three years, matching a nationwide increase that’s wiped out the progress the nation made when it reached a historic low in 2016, a new report has found.

After reaching a national low of 4.7 percent in 2016, the rate of children without insurance began to gradually creep back up again starting in 2017. By 2019, the uninsured rate had risen to 5,7 percent, or an increase of 726,000 children, according to the study by the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute.

According to the study, “much of the gain in coverage that children made as a consequence of the Affordable Care Act’s major coverage expansions implemented in 2014 has now been eliminated.”

As our sibling site, the Ohio Capital Journal reports, the study attributed declines in Medicaid enrollment as the start of the decrease in insured children. Public coverage for children includes Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

(Georgetown University, Center for Children & Families)

In Pennsylvania, there were 126,000 uninsured children in 2016, before the dawning of the Trump era, putting the state 46th nationwide, the study found. By 2019, that number had grown to 128,000, with the state rising to 44th place nationwide.

In percentage terms, the Keystone State’s uninsured rate grew from 4.4 percent in 2016 to 4.6 percent in 2019, the 23rd highest rate nationwide, the study found. All but two of Pennsylvania’s neighboring states also charted increases in the three-year period between 2016 and 2019, the study found.

Here’s how that broke down:
1. Delaware: 3.1 percent (2016); 4.8 percent (2019)
2. Maryland: 3.4 percent (2016/2019)
3. New Jersey: 3.7 percent (2016); 4.3 percent (2019)
4. New York: 2.5 percent (2016); 2.4 percent (2019)
5. Ohio: 3.8 percent (2016); 4.8 percent (2019)
6. West Virginia: 2.3 percent (2016); 3.5 percent (2019)

Texas and Florida had the highest uninsured rates, representing 41 percent of the overall increase in child non-coverage, with about 1 million children in Texas lacking health insurance in 2019, and an estimated 343,000 uninsured children in Florida, the Capital Journal noted.

(Georgetown University, Center for Children & Families)

“The rate of uninsured children (as opposed to the number) is an important indicator to examine how states are doing in comparison with each other and accounting for relative size,” the report reads. “As a whole, the country experienced a 1 percentage point increase in the child uninsured rate during the three-year period, with 26 states seeing statistically significant change on this measure. In total, 29 states experienced a statistically significant adverse change in rate or number during the three-year period.”

The largest national increase in uninsured children, 320,000, came between 2018 and 2019, and represents the largest annual jump in more than a decade, the authors of the study said.

“Moreover, since this data was collected prior to the pandemic, the number of uninsured children is likely considerably higher in 2020, as families have lost their jobs and employer-sponsored insurance, though it is impossible to know yet by precisely how much,” the study stated.

Pennsylvania State Capitol Building. (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller.)

Our Stuff.
Capital-Star exclusive: In a new video, former President Barack Obama wants to make sure that voters in a must-win battleground state have a plan to vote this voting season.

Gov. Tom Wolf has condemned a racist attack against Second Lady Gisele FettermanRjaa Ahmed, a fellow with Hearken’s Election SOS program, reports.

In Philadelphia, some union firefighters are looking for their union president’s resignation over the decision to endorse President Donald Trump, our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune report.

Also in Philadelphia, mail-in balloting centers are both a blessing and a curse for some voters, our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune further report.

On our Commentary Page this morning, we’re taking a comprehensive look at food insecurity issues during the pandemic. Opinion regular Aryanna Hunter gets us rolling with a look at the politicization of emergency food boxes that contain a letter from President Donald Trump taking credit for the aid. And experts from Stanford and Purdue go deep on the food insecurity risks facing college students during the pandemic.

(Screen Capture, Trump Campaign YouTube)

Elsewhere.
With Pennsylvania more competitive than ever, President Donald Trump will campaign in Johnstown today. The Inquirer explains what’s at stake for the Republican as the path to re-election becomes ever narrower.
Pittsburgh’s Italian community gathered at the Christopher Columbus statue on Indigenous Peoples Day to honor a man who most assuredly did not discover America. The Tribune-Review has the story.
In Gettysburg, the summer’s Black Lives Matter protests have turned into an ongoing war of wordsPennLive reports (paywall).
Lehigh County has installed its first ballot dropbox in Allentown. Four more could be ready to go by Friday, the Morning Call reports.
Operators of a methadone clinic want to relocate to Wilkes-Barre, the Citizens-Voice reports.

Here’s your #Pittsburgh Instagram of the Day:

Looking to boost the Black and Latino vote, hospitality workers knocked doors for Joe Biden in Philadelphia, WHYY-FM reports.
WPSU-FM has 
rolled out its voter resources page for its listening area.
An internal poll in Bucks County’s 1st Congressional District by Democrat Christina Finello’s campaign shows the race in the margin of error, with GOP U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick holding a narrow, 47-45 percent lead (via PoliticsPa). 
Conservative groups that would normally lavish money on GOP races are instead putting their bets on the fight for the U.S. Supreme Court, Politico reports.

What Goes On.
The House Democratic Policy Committee meets at 2 p.m. at the Ebensburg Borough Building in lovely Ebensburg, Pa.

WolfWatch.
Gov. Tom Wolf
 legs it to Monroe County for a 10 a.m. newser in Tobyhanna, Pa., to (again) call on lawmakers to legalize recreational cannabis.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
5 p.m.: 
Reception for Sen. Bob Mensch
5:30 p.m.: Reception for Sen. Camera Bartolotta
5:30 p.m.: Reception for Rep. Tim Hennessy
6 p.m.: Reception for the Senate Republican Campaign Committee
Ride the circuit, and give at the max, and you’re out an utterly preposterous $23,500.

Heavy Rotation.
We’ve got The Style Council on the brain this Tuesday morning. Here’s an absolute classic from Paul Weller’s old band, it’s ‘When You Call Me,’ from the ‘Home & Abroad’ live LP.

Tuesday’s Gratuitous Soccer Link.
The Guardian runs down everything you need to know
 about a polarizing plan to restructure the Premier League and how it would affect the pyramid structure below.

And now you’re up to date.

John L. Micek
A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press