KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Census Bureau Releases New Data On Local Uninsurance Rates

Some local news outlets report on their rankings in a new federal report. In the meantime, Minnesota researchers examine the insurance status of children.  

Hartford Courant: Online Map By Census Bureau Shows Rates Of Health Insurance By County
The U.S. Census Bureau has a new interactive online program that shows health insurance coverage as of 2010 for the nation's 3,140 counties. In general, an interactive map on the site, http://www.census.gov/did/www/sahie/index.html, shows that the South and West have a greater percentage of uninsured residents than the Northeast and Midwest (Sturdevant, 8/29).

The Houston Chronicle: Harris County No Longer Has Nation's Highest Uninsured Rates
Harris County's percentage of people without health insurance improved slightly in new census data released Wednesday, a hopeful sign in the county's quest to end its dubious distinction as the nation's symbol of the crisis. An estimated 29.9 percent of Harris County residents lacked health insurance in 2010, according to the new U.S. Census Bureau data, a smaller share than Miami-Dade County's 35.8 percent and Dallas County's 31 percent. The rankings represent a reversal of those released two years ago, when Harris had the highest rate among the nation's large counties, Dallas the second highest and Miami-Dade the third (Ackerman, 8/29).

The Washington Post: Uninsured Rates Vary Widely In D.C. Region
A relatively high proportion of people lack health insurance in Prince George's County, Manassas and Manassas Park, while the District and Loudoun County have the lowest rates of uninsured residents in the region, new government statistics show. With 17 percent of its residents without health insurance, Prince George's County has the highest uninsured rate in Maryland. In the city of Baltimore, in contrast, fewer than 16 percent of residents are uninsured. The statewide average is less than 13 percent (Morello, 8/29).

Baltimore Sun: Almost 13 Percent Of Marylanders Uninsured
Those who are poor, minorities and living on the Eastern Shore, Baltimore City or Prince George's County are more likely to be uninsured, according to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau Wednesday. The Small Area Health Insurance Estimates of health care coverage look at the nation’s 3,140 counties and is considered the only source for single-year estimates of health insurance. Though, local health officials have long identified these groups and areas as in need of expanded coverage (Cohn, 8/29).

Politico Pro: Children Gain Insurance As Poverty Rises
The number of children in poverty may be on the rise, but more kids are covered by health insurance, according to a report issued Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "The good news is that unlike adults in the United States, kids aren't more likely to be going uninsured because of tough economic times," said Lynn Blewett, professor in the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, in a statement accompanying the report. From 2008 to 2010, the number of children in poverty grew by 4.5 million, yet their rate of uninsurance fell to 8.5 percent, according to the report. The most pronounced declines in uninsured children occurred in Florida, Mississippi, Delaware, Colorado and Oregon, according to the report (Cheney, 8/29).

(St. Paul) Pioneer Press: Amid Recession, Minnesota Lagged Nation In Kids' Health Coverage
The growth of public health insurance coverage helped blunt the impact of the recession for many children across the country, but a new study suggests the dynamic didn't hold true in Minnesota. The report from researchers at the University of Minnesota found that between 2008 and 2010, the rate of children who lacked health insurance across the country declined even though the number of kids living in poverty grew by 4.5 million. But in Minnesota, the uninsured rate among children did not change significantly over the period as the state saw the number of children living in low-income households increase by 75,000 (Snowbeck, 8/29).

The Associated Press: Slightly Fewer Kan. Youths Uninsured, Study Shows
A new report says slightly more Kansas youths were covered by public health insurance in 2010 than in 2008. The study released Tuesday was paid for by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funds health research and programs (8/29).

The Associated Press: Report: Fewer Mo. Youths Lack Health Insurance
A new report attributes a slight increase in Missouri youth covered by health insurance to growth in government insurance programs.The study was paid for by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funds health research and programs. Researchers from the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health analyzed government census data and found that the number of Missouri children living in low-income households jumped by 72,000 from 2008 to 2010, the latest numbers available (8/29).

The Associated Press: Group: More R.I. Kids On Public Health Insurance
A national group has found that the percentage of Rhode Island children without health insurance stayed about the same between 2008 and 2010, though more were being covered through public programs. A report released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that 26 percent of children got coverage through Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program in 2010, up from 19 percent two years earlier (8/29).

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