A new state-by-state ranking puts Iowa in the top slot when it comes to child health care. The Commonwealth Fund scorecard ranks Iowa number one due to the state’s decade-long effort to get as many children as possible covered by health insurance.
"We have some urban population. We have a lot of rural population, but we have a manageable-sized population…We can reach the kids. It’s possible here," says Carrie Fitzgerald of the Iowa Child and Family Policy Center.
There are an estimated 50,000 Iowa children who are uninsured. "We’ve worked very hard toward access and quality for children in Iowa and when kids need health care, they get it," Fitzgerald says.
Just over five-and-a-half percent of all Iowa children are uninsured and state lawmakers this past spring embarked on another push to get the parents of those 50,000 kids to either sign their children up for government-paid health care or reduced-price premiums based on the parent’s ability to pay. "Certainly family income level affects the type of insurance or access to insurance, or if you work for an employer who offers private coverage, coverage that you can’t afford," Fitzgerald says.
While Iowa ranks at the top of the 50 states, Fitzgerald says Iowa would rank at the bottom of an international list compared with countries like Canada, Japan, Great Britian, and other European countries. Iowa ranked 29th when it came to the number of minority kids who are covered by health insurance and 39th in the number of kids who regularly visit a dentist.