LARAMIE, Wyoming. – Wyoming ranks 45th nationally for children’s health, and about 15,000 Wyoming children do not have health insurance, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2021 Kids Count data book, widely regarded as the most comprehensive annual report on children. in the nation.
Samin Dadelahi, director of operations for the Wyoming Community Foundation, said the state’s overall ranking of 17th in the country would be much higher if it weren’t for low scores on children’s health.
“When we look at, for example, the economic well-being of the family, of the community, that’s where Wyoming ranked very high, in the top five in the country,” Dadelahi said. “And yet our consistently low health score of 45 drives that whole number down.”
Wyoming ranks 49th, just ahead of Texas, for the number of children without health insurance.
Dadelahi noted that public support for the Medicaid expansion was so strong in the last session that lawmakers turned the proposal over to the Joint Revenue Committee. The expansion would provide coverage to 24,000 currently uninsured Wyomingites and is expected to reduce the number of uninsured children.
Leslie Boissière, vice president of external affairs for the foundation, said the permanent expansion of the child tax credit would provide families with children under six, $ 300 per month, and could reduce disparities in long standing affecting millions of families of color.
“At a time when families are concerned about being able to pay their mortgage, or paying their rent, it is a significant sum,” said Boissière. “Up to half of the children who currently live below the poverty line are expected to live above the poverty line.”
The report showed last December, 21% of Wyoming adults with children reported feeling down, depressed, or hopeless. In March of this year, the number rose to 28%, largely due to disruption and isolation during the COVID-19 health emergency.
Dadelahi urged lawmakers to take the rapid increase into account when using clawback funds.
“Families who may already be stressed, and you add all that on top of that, especially in rural areas where there is already a lot of isolation and where there is a lack of health support infrastructure. mental, ”Dadelahi explained. .
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