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Surprising drop in the number of Tenn. kids covered by health insurance


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT/TNS)  --  A new study shows an alarming drop in the number of children covered by health insurance, and Tennessee is singled out in the report as one of the worst cases. 

The Georgetown University Center for Children and Families says the number of uninsured children rose in 2017 after eight years of steady declines.


The Center says the uninsured rate rose in every state in the nation, but Tennessee and eight other, mostly southern states were singled out as seeing the sharpest decline. Report co-author Joan Alker.


"We won’t have the 2018 data, of course, until next fall, but we’re very concerned that this number is actually going to get worse. (:07) Barring new and serious efforts to get back on track, there’s every reason to believe this decline in the number of kids having health insurance may get worse in 2018."


Alker says Tennessee’s failure to expand Medicaid is largely to blame. She says an additional 250,000 Tennesseans would gain health care coverage if that happened.


But the Republican dominated State Legislature twice rejected Medicaid expansion. During the gubernatorial debates back in October, Gov.-elect Bill Lee made it clear he is also opposed to Medicaid expansion.


“Taking federal money and moving something down the road that is fundamentally flawed I believe is a mistake for Tennessee.”


The Georgetown Center for Children and Family says that what makes the drop in the number of uninsured children especially troubling is that its taking place at a time when the economy is strong.


Here's a link to the health care study.