Excerpt: A historically low percentage of kids throughout the state are going without health insurance


January 19, 2023

Except from Crain’s Health Pulse New York by Jacqueline Neber

“A historically low percentage of kids throughout the state are going without health insurance, according to a report on how the pandemic has affected New York’s children.

The study, released on Tuesday by the Financial District-based Citizens’ Commission for Children, measures how many children encounter barriers to accessing health care, technology, education and nancial security.

The statewide average of children living without health insurance is 2.5%, the report found, but more than 5% of children in 12 counties are uninsured. In Yates, Seneca and St. Lawrence counties, the percentage of children living without health insurance is at least ve times higher than the statewide average.

Furthermore, several counties also show signs of poor infant health. In 34 of the state’s 62 counties, more than 4 babies per 1,000 die before their rst birthday. In most counties more than 5% of babies are born at low weights, with a statewide average of more than 8%. In the Bronx the gure is more than 10%.

Compared to the rest of the country, New York’s infant mortality rate is low, said Bijan Kimiager, the commission’s associate executive director for research. But in the counties where rates are high, that could indicate disparities in women not being able to access health care when pregnant, he said.

Nine counties, largely in upstate New York with the Bronx in seventh place, have aboveaverage barriers to accessing health care, including poverty, lack of internet and nancial insecurity, according to the report.

The study found that around 746,000 children throughout New York live in households with incomes below the federal poverty level; 20% or more of renter households in 49 counties spend at least half their income on rent; and in 30 counties less than half of 3and 4-year-old children are enrolled in early education.

These statistics speak to how the social determinants of health in uence all other aspects of children’s lives, said Jennifer March, the commission’s executive director.

The report recommends that Gov. Kathy Hochul and state leaders plan during the executive budget cycle to invest in the family and peer specialist workforce, loan forgiveness and scholarship programs to get more New Yorkers off waiting lists for behavioral health programs.

The report advocates for investment in a statewide universal basic income pilot program for pregnant and parenting New Yorkers with children under the age of 3, increased rates for Early Intervention services for children with disabilities and higher reimbursement rates for behavioral health providers.”

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