Report finds 38,000 MN kids gained access to health insurance in 2014

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An additional 38,000 children in Minnesota gained access to health insurance in 2014 – a 44 percent drop of the uninsured rate in a single year, says a new report by University of Minnesota and the State Health Access Data Assistance Center.

"This is fantastic news," said Gov. Mark Dayton in an email statement. "This report is more evidence that the health reforms Minnesota has embraced are working."

The report looked at health insurance data spanning five years for children in all 50 states, and compared coverage by income, race and ethnicity, and disabilities.

According to the report, the greatest gains in insurance were among low-income kids, and children of color.

Yet over 10 percent of Hispanic children are still uninsured, compared to 3.4 percent of non-whites, and 2.8 percent of whites, the report says.

 (Photo: State Health Access Data Assistance Center report)

(Photo: State Health Access Data Assistance Center report)

Public health insurance covers 22.5 percent of children in Minnesota, while 74 percent are covered by private health insurance according to the study.

However, 3.5 percent – or a total of 48,000 kids in Minnesota – are still uninsured.

"The last year has shown continued progress in expanding coverage to children and the reduction of differences by race, ethnicity and income, but there is more work to be done," said Kathy Hempstead, the director of coverage issues for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, according to U.S. News and World Report.

The organization collaborated on the report with University of Minnesota researchers.

Minnesota was among five states with the largest decline in uninsured children.

Health insurance in the national spotlight

Nearly 5 million people under 19 still lack access to health insurance in the United States, says U.S. News and World Report.

Health insurance has been a controversial topic in the 2016 presidential campaign, with Republicans and Democrats divided on the issue.

"Medicare for all" has been a platform for Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, who wants to create a single-payer health-care system for all Americans. Hilary Clinton has said that she wants to expand on the Affordable Health Care Act, which was passed in 2010.

Meanwhile, Republican candidates such as Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have said that they would work to change or repeal the health care overhaul.

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