Number of Uninsured Children in Arkansas Drops 60 Percent

AUGUST 9, 2006 - Posted at 7:43 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A nationwide study released today shows that Arkansas has made the greatest progress in reducing its number of children without health-care coverage.

The state saw a drop of nearly 60 percent in the number of uninsured children from 1997 to 2004.  That decrease is the most of any state in the country.

The study, called "The State of Kids' Coverage," was released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Other states with big decreases include Maine, with 50 percent, Alabama with 47 percent, South Carolina with 46 percent and North Dakota with 44 percent.

According to the foundation, about seven in ten uninsured children are eligible for low-cost or free health care coverage, but their parents may not realize it.

Programs exist in every state.  In Arkansas, low-income children are covered for free by Medicaid or for a small co-payment in the ArKids First program.

Governor Huckabee says the program has helped provide insurance for "tens of thousands of children who might otherwise have gone without."

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)