California, the nation's most populous state, also has the nation's largest number of medically uninsured children, but has lowered that number sharply in recent years, according to a new study by Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute.
Ironically, however, the study attributes that decline from 2009 to 2011, in part, to the state's Healthy Families program, which was repealed this year as part of the 2012-13 state budget, saving $13 million. Children who had been insured under Healthy Families are now being shifted into the Medi-Cal program, a move that has angered children's health advocates.
Georgetown's Center for Children and Families calculates that the number of medically uninsured California children dropped from 890,998 in 2009 to 744,797 in 2011 and the proportion from 9.5 percent of the state's children to 8 percent, just slightly above the national rate of 7.5 percent.
The 2011 rates ranged from a high of 16.2 percent in Nevada to a low of 1.7 percent in Massachusetts, the latter reflecting the universal health insurance program instituted by the state's former governor, Mitt Romney, now the Republican candidate for president. California's 8 percent rate was the 35th highest among the states.