More Floridians went without health insurance in 2018, a federal report shows

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Florida had the fourth highest rate in the nation of residents lacking health insurance in 2018, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Florida’s 13 percent uninsured rate in 2018 was well above the national average of 8.5 percent, the report shows. But the national rate also increased, up from 7.9 percent in 2017.

The number of uninsured residents in Florida climbed from 2.68 million in 2017 to 2.73 million in 2018, or an increase of about 52,000 Floridians, the report shows.

Texas had the highest uninsured rate with 17.7 percent. Vermont had the lowest rate at 4 percent, the report shows.

The top five states, including Florida, with the highest uninsured rates had a common denominator: none have expanded their Medicaid programs under the federal Affordable Care Act.

The U.S. Census report also highlighted the number of uninsured children across the nation increased by 425,000 in 2018, representing 5.5 percent of Americans under the age of 19. The report did not break down the coverage data for children by state.

The increase in the number of uninsured children was attributed to lower enrollment levels in Medicaid, the state-federal health care program for the poor and disabled, and in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP provides coverage for children not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid but who otherwise could not afford insurance.

Joan Alker, head of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, said the new report on the increase in uninsured children across the nation “confirms our worst fears.”

“This serious erosion of child health coverage is due in large part to the Trump administration’s actions that have made health coverage harder to access and have deterred families from enrolling their eligible children in Medicaid and CHIP,” Alker said in a statement.

“Children hit hardest by coverage losses include Latino children, non-Hispanic white children and children under age six. This is clear evidence that the administration’s rhetoric targeting immigrant families is harming children, but that’s not the only cause,” Alker said. “More red tape, less outreach, and general neglect are contributing to this rise in uninsured children.”

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