Number of uninsured kids up in Iowa, U.S.

About 21,000 Iowa kids — 2.7 percent of the child population — were uninsured in 2018, according to a new report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. This reflects a 5 percent increase since 2016. Although the increase is not statistically significant, it halts years of progress and took place during a period of economic growth when we would expect children to be gaining health coverage.

This is a red flag we should not ignore. We know uninsured children are more likely to have unmet health needs. When kids get the health care they need, they are more likely to succeed in school, graduate from high school, earn higher wages and grow up into healthy adults.

Nationally, the number of children without health insurance increased by more than 400,000 since 2016 — reversing a long-standing trend. Over 4 million kids are now uninsured in the United States. The majority of uninsured children are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) but not currently enrolled.

The report identifies several factors contributing to the erosion in children’s health coverage: efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, CHIP funding delays, and policy changes to state Medicaid programs that have created red tape barriers to enrollment.

Learn more. Check out interactive, state-specific data here or read the full report here.


New estimates double the number of children who would lose free lunches under proposed SNAP rules

By changing categorical eligibility requirements for food assistance, a proposed Trump Administration rule change to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would cut almost 1 million children nationwide from school meal assistance. That number is almost twice as high as original USDA estimates.

This will hurt kids in our communities. In Iowa, 161,000 students qualified for free lunches in 2018, with another 34,000 eligible for reduced-price lunches — 40 percent of the state's K-12 student population. 

Kids need quality nutrition to learn. For some students, school lunches are their most reliable access to healthy food throughout the day. SNAP policies should support — not undercut — these efforts.

Learn more. Executive director Anne Discher spoke with KCCI in Des Moines about the harm these changes to SNAP would have on Iowa students. "It is hard to imagine how a kid is going to have a quality learning experience if they're sitting in a classroom hungry," Discher said. Check out the full story here. 


Around 24,000 Iowa kids live in areas of concentrated poverty

Around 24,000 Iowa kids live in concentrated poverty — high-poverty, low-opportunity areas — according to a new KIDS COUNT Data Snapshot from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. That's more children than the entire population of Fort Dodge. 

Families living in these places have sparse access to community resources that help them thrive: high-quality schools, job opportunities, reliable transportation and safe places for recreation. 

Federal, state and local governments must act to revitalize impoverished communities by transforming them into areas of opportunity. Let's work together to ensure all children live in communities where they can learn, play and grow.

Learn more. Read the full KIDS COUNT Data Snapshot here


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