Arizona has Third-Highest Rate of Uninsured Children in Nation, Study Shows

Almost 13 percent of Arizona children are uninsured -- the third-highest rate in the nation, according to a new study by Georgetown University.

Coming in at No. 1 was Nevada, with 16.2 percent of its kids uninsured, followed by Texas, with 13.2 percent.

The study, conducted by the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute's Center for Children and Families, used data by the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey from 2009 to 2011.

Half of the country's uninsured kids live in just six states. Arizona is the fifth on that list, with an estimated 208,419 kids without coverage -- about 3.8 percent of all the country's uninsured kids. That's only slightly higher than the sixth state -- New York. But Arizona has only a third of New York's population, meaning that New York's kids are much better covered.

Part of the problem is that tens of thousands of Arizona kids lost coverage starting in early 2010, when Governor Jan Brewer signed a bill to get rid of public coverage for children in order to help balance the budget. An estimated 47,000 children lost coverage.

This year, the state began its "Kids Care II" program that will cover about 21,000 children through 2014.

That's roughly 10 percent of what's needed.

The other 90 percent of uninsured children will just have to hope they don't get sick.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.