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Arizona Has the Nation's Third-Highest Rate of Kids Without Health Insurance

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Only two other states in the nation have a higher rate of children without health insurance than Arizona.

Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute purposely did the study before coverage expansions are rolled out under Obamacare, finding that more than 200,000, or 13.2 percent, of Arizona kids are uninsured.

As a whole, the study shows that more kids have been getting insured, in the pre-Obamacare days. For example, in Texas, the number of uninsured kids went down by more than 130,000 from 2010 to 2012.

Arizona's one of the few states where that didn't happen. Only 11 states had more uninsured kids in 2012 than they did in 2010 -- Arizona had the second-biggest increase.

This isn't really surprising stuff. Back when Governor Jan Brewer was known as the governor who helped cut Medicaid coverage, rather than expand it, she signed a budget that eliminated the Children's Health Insurance Program.

That was coverage for kids -- about 47,000 of 'em -- who weren't poor enough for AHCCCS (Medicaid).

(FYI, there's a temporary KidsCare program that started last year, and expires at the end of the year.)

Still, it's not all the fault of government budgeting.

"Almost 70 percent of uninsured children are eligible but not enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP, so there is still much work to be done to connect these children to coverage," the Georgetown study says.

When we reported on the initial Obamacare enrollment numbers last week, we noted that more than one-third of the people who applied from Arizona were determined to be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP, although that includes adults, too.

The authors of the Georgetown study are thinking more kids will get health insurance for this very reason, as "more families enroll in coverage as awareness of new coverage options grows as the expectation exists that everyone should be covered."

For now, though, Arizona's not looking so hot. Maricopa County, specifically, has the third-most uninsured children of any county in the country. A little more than 2 percent of all the nation's uninsured children live in Maricopa County.

Read the Georgetown report on the next page:

Click here for related information on the study.

Children's Health Insurance Coverage

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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