Health Insurance :: States can succeed in insuring kids’ health insurance

In the absence of federal and state reform offering universal health care coverage, local coalitions can make a big difference for children without health insurance.

That?s according to a study by University of Southern California (USC) researchers to appear in the April issue of the American Journal of Public Health and now available online.

A study of 28 California counties or regions with Healthy Kids coalitions found that the efforts have linked 85,000 kids with health insurance coverage. Coalition leaders attributed their success to having a diverse group of stakeholders, strong leadership and generous local and statewide contributors. Because such coalitions face obstacles in surviving the long haul, most are ?cautiously looking toward statewide legislative solutions,? the study?s authors wrote.

“Until recently, assuring that all children have health insurance coverage had escaped federal and state attention. But many counties in California were unwilling to endure this inaction and took on the responsibility for covering children themselves,? says the study?s lead author Gregory Stevens, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Research in the Department of Family Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. ?Such entrepreneurship is often seen at the state level, but California counties are setting a new precedent for leading the way on health issues.”

In the meantime, local coalitions may become the gold standard as other states struggle with declines in employer-based coverage and increasing immigration and poverty rates.

Stevens? research focuses on child health, vulnerable populations, and health disparities. He is currently working on several projects looking at children’s health insurance coverage issues and is a co-author of the book “Vulnerable Populations in the United States”.

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