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Report: More N.C. Children Uninsured

Posted October 15, 2007

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— Despite efforts to improve children's health, a growing number of North Carolina children have no health insurance, according to a state report card issued Monday.

The 2007 North Carolina Child Health Report Card, issued by Action for Children North Carolina and the North Carolina Institute of Medicine, also shows that more children and youths are overweight but fewer are smoking or getting pregnant.

More than 13 percent of children through age 18 were uninsured last year, up from 11 percent in 2001, earning the state a "D" in the report for insurance coverage. Meanwhile, the state received an "A" for adding about 230,000 children to the rolls of Medicaid or other public health insurance programs.

The report attributed the larger number of uninsured children to the continued loss of employer-based insurance for dependents.

"The progress made in children’s health in North Carolina has been slowed by some steps in the wrong direction,” Barbara Bradley, president and chief executive of Action for Children North Carolina, said in a statement. “Access to care through insurance is a critical underpinning of children’s health status.”

“While much progress has been made, more focus is needed to address the needs of children who have lost insurance coverage. The increase in the numbers of uninsured children is troubling. We need concentrated and sustained efforts in most areas to ensure our children are healthy,” Dr. Pam Silberman, president and chief executive of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine, said in the statement.

Also growing is the number of North Carolina children who are overweight, prompting a failing grade on the report card.

More than a quarter of low-income children ages 5 to 11 are overweight, up from 20 percent in 2001, the report shows. Likewise, almost 30 percent of low-income children ages 12 to 18 are overweight, up from 26 percent five years ago.

Dental care for children is another problem area for the state, according to the report. Although the number of children with untreated tooth decay declined and the number of Medicaid-eligible children receiving dental care increased, the state earned a "D" because a majority of children still receive no dental care.

Two bright spots on the report card are the decline in teen pregnancy and smoking rates.

About 35 percent of girls ages 15 to 17 became pregnant last year, down from 44 percent in 2001, earning the state a "C" on the report card. The drop reflects a national trend.

Meanwhile, about 20 percent of high school students reported smoking cigarettes, down from about 28 percent in 2001. But the state still earned a "D" in the category on the report card.

“Our children and youth must be assured the best possible health outcomes for positive development into adulthood,” Silberman said. “Adults – both collectively and individually – must make necessary investments that will assure a bright future for our state’s youngest North Carolinians.”

81 Comments

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  • Reader X Oct 17, 2007

    It seems that the large corporations are downsizing, then rehiring with contractors. It seems like half the people I work with are contractors. I was one of these people that were let go in a downsize and had to take a huge pay cut when I went back as a contractor. Therefore I could not afford to take the package that offered the health care. I am lucky because I can use my husbands company insurance, but what happens if his company down sizes and does the same? I did try to find another job and I still look, but it seems everyone wants to hire a contractor or they don't want to pay a fair salary for the experience and college education. I consider myself a frugal person and I drive cars at least 10 years after they have been paid off, but healthcare can be rediculous. Are there any laws out there that say a company of x value/size must employee x % of employees as regulars and offer health care packages?

  • GoldsboroWolf 98 Oct 17, 2007

    "the middle class can't afford healthcare" Yeah, but they can afford sirius/xm, the premium movie channels, new cars with high payments, that bubble bursting home mortgage, a trip to disney world/bush gardens/weekly beach rental every summer, 100's of downloaded songs for their god forsaken mp3 players (if they paid for them), every game console known to man with multiple games, eat at outback/(insert overpriced franchise) at least 3 times a week, a GPS so they can find their way to work every day, and charged up credit cards at Belk's/Macy's etc. Oh, and don't forget that new big flat panel TV on their wall. Yeah, the middle class can't afford healthcare. I am middle class but I am willing to do things such as a higher health insurance deductible as well as sacrifice some luxuries.

  • whatelseisnew Oct 17, 2007

    Yes here is a thought on what adults should do. You have a child then you bear the responsibility for feeding, clothing, housing and seeing that child gets medical care when it is needed. With freedom comes great responsibility. For those that want to cater to people that are not responsible for their actions, unfortunately you give up some of your own freedoms and infringe on mine. Every dollar that is taken from me (yes taken) is less I have to take care of my family and to share with others that are in true need.

  • PikeQueen Oct 17, 2007

    Did anyone just read the story where the Brits pulling their own teeth ..they are on National Health Plan.

    I say NO WAY. Anyone making 82,000 a year can get their own Insurance.We have enough programs out here for the poor,and the lazy.Clean up what we already have before we start something else.Get these people off their hiney's,make them quit having kids under gov't. monies.Review them every 6 months.Do drug testing.
    If you did these things,we would weed out enough ineligible people to pay to more kids.

  • Jeremiah Oct 17, 2007

    (wow, that was stupid, i meant "fortune"

  • Jeremiah Oct 17, 2007

    i have a friend who is single, highly educated (engineering and accounting degree), no kids, no car payments. recently bought a small condo. he broke his leg real bad several months ago and has been paying a fortion on medical expenses, despite having some health insurance, and he's struggling to make his mortgage and live. If he had a family or a bigger house, he'd be screwed. Something ain't right with that.

  • dogeatdog Oct 16, 2007

    Health care shouldn't be optional, it should be mandatory

    Yes, this is the result of the socialistic nature so many in this country have now...make in MANDATORY...we don't need more government, we need LESS

  • dogeatdog Oct 16, 2007

    Insurance companys are the biggest racket in the United States, you pay IN CASE something happens. Those who own them are getting filthy rich and I bet they have great insurance :).

    Yeah, insurance companies are big and evil until you need them to help pay that $10,000 hospital bill..then they are the best thing since sliced bread

  • dogeatdog Oct 16, 2007

    Folks who talk trash about not caring and doing their own, good for you, tell that to the kids who cannot get medical help or the elderly who are suffering.

    You know, if you go to an emergency room with anything, even a cold, they will take care of you, ESPECIALLY children and the elderly. I get so sick of hearing about people who have to "choose between food and medicine." I don't doubt there are a FEW people out there like that, and yes, we should help them, but not by starting up a whole new government beauracracy that will only grow and creep us towards socialized medicine.

  • dogeatdog Oct 16, 2007

    And Bush just vetoed legislation that would have substantially increased child health care funding. Another job well done.

    Yeah, that bill would have allowed "children" up to 21 years of age to get insurance under the SCHIP entitlement program. Also, a family with 4 kids making $82,000 could be eligible for the program. Not exactly the "working poor". States would also get incentives for signing up certain numbers of people on SCHIP..so hello, illegals, and anyone else who wants to rob the government (which is really the hardworking taxpayers). Read the SCHIP bill...it is rather boring reading, but there are some interesting facts in there.

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