TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida has one of the largest Latino populations in the country, and a report released today shows the Sunshine State is making huge strides in ensuring Latino kids have access to health insurance.
According to study from the National Council of La Raza, from 2013 to 2015, the total number of uninsured Latino children in the state fell by 40 percent, to 104,000. Report co-author and NCLR Health Policy Project manager Steven Lopez said it's a major milestone after decades of persistent work.
"Our report demonstrates the collective impact that the Affordable Care Act, along with programs such as Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, have had on increasing the number of Latino children who have health coverage today,” Lopez said.
He noted that while Florida has made significant progress, the state's 8.5 percent uninsured rate for Latino children is still higher than the national rate of 7.5 percent.
There are currently more than 1.2 million Latino children living in Florida.
About 25 percent of kids in the U.S. are Latino, but they account for 39 percent of all children who are uninsured. Lopez said work needs to be done to address those gaps. He said investing in the health of Latino kids today is an investment in the overall future health and success of the nation.
"Latino children are projected to make up one out of every three children in this country in the next couple of decades,” Lopez said. "And Latinos overall are projected to make up one-third of the U.S. workforce by mid-century."
To continue making progress in ensuring children have healthcare, the report recommended expanding improvements in health coverage programs - including the federal insurance marketplace and the Children's Health Insurance Program. It also recommended investments in community-based, culturally sensitive outreach efforts.
Florida ranks third among states in the report for the number of uninsured children.