DES MOINES, Iowa (July 27, 2010) — Increasing numbers of children and families in every county in Iowa have benefited from new public health insurance initiatives, the Iowa Fiscal Partnership (IFP) noted today.
"Efforts to expand coverage through Medicaid and hawk-i are making a difference in the lives of children across the state," said Carrie Fitzgerald, senior health policy associate for the nonpartisan Child & Family Policy Center (CFPC). "This is the result of a two-pronged public policy effort at the state and federal levels."
Fitzgerald and CFPC Executive Director Charles Bruner, in a two-page backgrounder for IFP, noted 60,000 more Iowa children are covered in 2010 by either Medicaid or the state's children's health insurance program, hawk-i (Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa), than in 2007.
"More than one-third of children in every congressional district have health coverage through public programs. In most cases, these children would not have access to affordable, quality health care without these programs," Fitzgerald said.
"This would not have been possible without the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) passed by Congress last year — but also by Governor Culver and state legislators taking advantage of federal options under CHIPRA to expand coverage, and to provide matching funds to do so."
She added that that without those actions, the impact of the recession on uninsured families would be even more difficult than they have seen.
Iowa's growth in children's coverage is drawing national attention.
"Iowans should be proud of the leadership their lawmakers have shown in creating more opportunities for Iowa children to get the health coverage they need," said Jocelyn Guyer, co-executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. "They should be particularly proud of efforts to cut red tape and be more efficient in serving families during the current economic crisis. The rest of the country is watching Iowa as a model on how to do this right."
The IFP backgrounder notes that from April 2007 to April 2010, the percentage of Iowa children covered by Medicaid or hawk-i rose from about 29 percent to 37 percent. By congressional district, the Fifth District in western Iowa had the greatest share of children covered by these programs, 41.2 percent. All congressional districts were above 34 percent. By district, children's coverage:
— First District (northeast Iowa): 52,437 covered, 37.7 percent, up from 30.2 percent.
— Second District (southeast Iowa): 51,787 covered, 36.1 percent, up from 29.3 percent.
— Third District (east-central Iowa): 55,367 covered, 34.3 percent, up from 24.7 percent.
— Fourth District (north-central Iowa): 46,882 covered, 35.4 percent, up from 26.9 percent.
— Fifth District (western Iowa): 56,161 covered, 41.2 percent, up from 31.7 percent.
The Iowa Fiscal Partnership is a joint public policy analysis initiative of two nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations, CFPC in Des Moines and the Iowa Policy Project in Iowa City. IFP reports are at www.iowafiscal.org.