The 2018 N.C. Child Health Report Card gives the state high marks for insurance coverage, but a failing grade for housing and economic security.
The report, compiled by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine and NC Child, gave North Carolina an “A” for insurance coverage for children, but an “F” for housing and economic security, because of “the high percentage of children living in low-income homes and neighborhoods,” the report stated.
In 2016, 95.5 percent of Tar Heel children had health insurance. The report found that children of Hispanic and American Indian parents are less likely to have coverage compared to other racial and ethnic groups.
The state has experienced “dramatic increases in the last 10 years in the number of children who have health insurance,” said Whitney Tucker, research director for NC Child. The report card cites the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid and NC Health Choice (which covers families that make too much to qualify for Medicaid) as reasons for more children being covered.
The report stated that the end of the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act will likely reduce coverage. However, proposed legislation in the N.C. General Assembly called Carolina Cares would expand coverage to all adults under 133 percent of the federal poverty line. NC Child and the North Carolina Instute of Medicine support the bill because it “will expand access to care, which is the top priority,” Tucker said.
The report found that in 2016, 46 percent of children overall lived in poor or low-income homes. Those percentages were 64 for African Americans, 71 for Hispanics and 31 for whites. In 2016, 28 percent of children lived in families that spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing.
Here are the other grades cited in the report:
▪ “B” for environmental health, family involvement, health services utilization and immunization, postpartum health and breastfeeding, teen births
▪ “D” for birth outcomes, child abuse and neglect, children in out-of-home care, healthy eating and active living, mental health, tobacco, alcohol, and substance use, school health.