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California Ranks No. 1 On Gains In Health Coverage For Hispanic Kids

Credit: flickr\Danbury Library

A group of unindentified Latino children are shown, Sept. 22, 2007.

Aired 1/15/16 on KPBS News.

In Obamacare's first year, a new report finds California extended coverage to more Hispanic kids than any other state.

When it comes to expanding health coverage to Hispanic kids, California ranks No. 1.

A new report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families looks at gains in health insurance for Hispanic kids in the first year of Obamacare.

It reveals that between 2013 and 2014, California extended coverage to 132,000 more Hispanic children. That gain was due primarily to the state’s decision to make it easier for families to qualify for Medi-Cal.

Fatima Morales, a policy and outreach associate with the nonprofit advocacy group Children Now, said California has made the right moves.

“There has been targeted outreach to Latino communities, and that’s been really key," she said. "Working with community-based organizations is so important.”

Morales pointed out that despite the gains, many Latino children are still uninsured.

"There’s still about 323,000 uninsured kids in our state. And many of these children do currently qualify for Medi-Cal, but are unenrolled," she said.

Beginning May 1, California will offer Medi-Cal to some 170,000 children of parents who are here illegally. The state will spend $40 million on that expansion this year, and more than three times that amount per year in subsequent years.

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