LARAMIE — A new report shows the number of children without health insurance rising in Wyoming between 2010 and 2016, as the national number of uninsured children was cut in half during the same time frame. Using U.S. Census data provided and interpreted by local professionals, the Kids Count Data Book — published today — shows in both Wyoming and the U.S. as a whole, 8 percent of children were uninsured in 2010.

Throughout the next six years, the national figure fell to 4 percent while Wyoming’s figure rose to 9 percent. One of four measures under the health category, Wyoming’s rise in children without insurance contributed to its ranking as 49th among the states, better than only Alaska.

“When you compare us against the national average, you can see we are worse in every category than the national average,” Wyoming Community Foundation Chief Operating Officer Samin Dadelahi said. Other health categories included low birth-weight babies, child and teen deaths per 100,000 people and teens who abuse alcohol or drugs. But the starkest difference between Wyoming and the national average — its percentage of children without insurance — represents roughly 12,000 children who lack any coverage.

Dadelahi said Wyoming’s failure to expand Medicaid following passage of the Affordable Care Act was likely a huge contributor. “The national average is going to be based on so many states that actually changed their numbers,” she said.

“And in so many states that adopted Medicaid expansion, they were able to get more coverage for more people, including children. And Wyoming did nothing and nothing happened.” As 33 states and Washington, D.C., adopted Medicaid expansion, the Wyoming Legislature shot down several attempts to expand the federal assistance program for low-income individuals. Read more from…

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