The number of insured children in Orange County is higher than it’s ever been. 95 percent of children living in the county currently have health insurance. That’s all thanks to state and federal programs, according to NC Child.
“It’s critical that we preserve the Medicaid program, that we protect the state Children’s Health Insurance Program, and that we don’t roll back some of those protections that families have gained through the marketplace that have been created by the Affordable Care Act,” said Laila Bell, Director of Research and Data for NC Child.
The organization promotes public policy benefiting North Carolina children. NC Child released county data cards that assess the health insurance and state of health in each county. Bell said to do that, staff took several factors into consideration.
“Everything from whether or not a child is receiving a strong and healthy start in life,” she said. “All the way through their family economic security whether or not they’re living in safe and nurturing homes and communities, their educational outcomes and of course, health and wellness.”
Laila Bell spoke with WCHL’s Aaron Keck.
Bell that although only five percent of kids in the county are uninsured, there are more who live in poor or low-income homes, which could negatively affect their future state of health.
“We see that about a third of kids in Orange County live in poor or low-income homes and that is a significant cause for concern,” she said. “Because we know that children that live in poverty or live in low income homes, often lack the resources that need to support a healthy nutrition, that allows them to have high-quality early learning opportunities, and that really does support their family’s being able to support their most basic needs.”
Bell said these children who already lack resources are those who could be hit the hardest if The American Healthcare Act passes in the Senate.
“If the American Healthcare Act is passed, we know that it rolls back key provisions of the Affordable Care Act,” she said. “We know that it would cap the Medicaid program, and all of these things would really have a profound impact on Orange County’s children’s coverage and benefits.”
Statewide, almost half the children live in poor or low-income housing. She said this goes on to affect areas beyond health.
“It affects our ability as a state to ensure that our next generation of workers and business-owners and innovators are really growing up with the resources to thrive and achieve their full potential,” Bell said.