Texas Kids Get Coverage, Wind Up in Better Health
"Health of Texas Children Improving, Surveys Show," read a headline this week in the Dallas/Fort Worth publication D HealthCare Daily. The report goes on to say the National Survey of Children's Health--from 2003, 2007 and 2011-2012--indicates progress for Texas kids "on several health-status measures, (including) a significant uptick in mental-health screening and diagnosis for children in recent years." What else is noteworthy from the study:
- Children reported to be in excellent or very good health in Texas climbed 5 percentage points to 82% in the last decade.
- Children who received a check-up in the past year climbed 8 percentage points to 83% over the same time period.
- Parents reporting their children were breastfed at any time climbed 6 percentage points.
- The rate of children receiving developmental screenings tripled from 2007 to 2011.
What can cause improvements like that? No doubt, a lot is a lot at play. But, with swings so large, public policy is often a part of the story.
Here in Texas, between 2003 and 2011, our state shored up Children's Medicaid and CHIP, cutting red tape in two systems that help kids throughout Texas see a doctor when they need to. The result? The number of uninsured children fell by hundreds of thousands in recent years, even as our overall child population grew. We still lag behind most of the nation in insuring kids, but Texas has made progress.
(For how Texas compares to the nation as a whole on the survey findings, see this snapshot from the Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health.)
It is nice to see as more kids got covered, more families reported good news about their children's health.