Report: Number of children without health insurance grows

COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine asked the state’s Medicaid official to look into what can be done in response to the recent increase in the number of children without health insurance.

The governor’s directive came after a recent report showed Ohio’s uninsured rate for infants, toddlers and preschoolers is now the third-highest in the nation, with nearly 12,000 more children without coverage in 2018 than in 2016, the Columbus Dispatch reported on Friday.

DeWine said he asked Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran “to see what steps that we can take to deal with this” and to see if there is a way to “make re-enrollment easier” so that it is not a hurdle for those looking to get insured.

He added, “Making sure every child in Ohio has good medical care is just absolutely essential.”

The number of children without health insurance coverage climbed to 5% in 2018 from 3.6% in 2016, according to report released in December by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

“This trend is deeply disturbing because we know children experience rapid brain development during the earliest years of life, before they start kindergarten,” said Shannon Jones, executive director of Groundwork Ohio, a leading child advocacy group.