New Jersey Experiences Increase in Uninsured Children; Many Uninsured Children Are Minorities, Report Finds
The number of uninsured children in New Jersey has increased in recent years, and there have been higher increases in the number of uninsured minority children than white children, according to a report released Wednesday by New Jersey Policy Perspective, a research organization that studies state issues, the AP/Long Island Newsday reports.
New Jersey has 1.4 million uninsured residents, including 250,000 children. According to the report, the number of uninsured children in New Jersey increased by 37% from 2000 to 2005, compared with a decline of 9% nationally. In New Jersey from 2000 to 2004, the number of uninsured children increased by 67% for blacks and 37% for Hispanics. At the same time, there was a 1% decline in uninsured white children, according to the report.
The report recommends:
- Expanding the state's version of SCHIP, FamilyCare, to all children;
- Improving outreach efforts among low-income and minority residents;
- Allowing more parents to enroll in the program; and
- Requiring businesses with employees and dependents enrolled in FamilyCare to contribute to a state fund.
Jon Shure, president of NJPP, said, "New Jersey is at a critical point with health insurance for children. If we have the will, we can reach those who need help the most and make the dream of guaranteed health coverage for all children a reality."
Gov. Jon Corzine's (D) budget proposal calls for covering 68,000 additional children in FamilyCare in the next fiscal year. In addition, Sen. Joseph Vitale (D), chair of the Senate Health Committee, said legislation that would require all state residents to have health insurance might be introduced later this spring or in the early summer (Hester, AP/Long Island Newsday, 5/23). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.