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North Carolina Has a High Rate of Uninsured Kids, Report Says

A report says North Carolina has the 9th highest rate of uninsured children in the nation. The report was produced by a Washington, D.C., group called Families USA. The report estimates there were about 296,000 children in North Carolina without health insurance in 2007. The report says that's about 12.8 percent of all kids in the state Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack sees a pattern in states with high rates of uninsured children. 1DW "They tend to be states that have a lot of small businesses, and those small business don't offer health coverage for their workers," Pollack says. "They also tend to be states where the eligibility for programs like the Children's Health Insurance Program are less generous than in other parts of the country." Nearly 125,000 kids in North Carolina currently have coverage through the federal Children's Health Insurance Program, or S-CHIP, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. But the federal CHIP program is set to expire in March. Last year, President Bush vetoed legislation that would have extended and expanded S-CHIP. Pollack is optimistic that President-elect Barack Obama won't let the program expire. "Senator Obama has supported extending the Children's Health Insurance Program legislation. He voted for it. He opposed President Bush when the president vetoed that legislation," Pollack says. Families USA says Texas has the nation's highest rate of uninsured children at 20.5 percent.