New York is the only state in the country to see a noticeable decline in the number of uninsured children over a three-year period prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The news, based on U.S. Census, has buoyed researchers like Kate Breslin of the Schuyler Center in Albany.
Much of this came with help from the Affordable Care Act, she said.
"The ACA provides funding for states to expand their Medicaid programs, so a loss of that would likely mean a loss for children and their families," Breslin said in an interview. "Kids who covered have better long-term outcomes and are, to put it starkly, less costly in the future. There are human reasons and their financial reasons to make sure kids are covered."
Breslin also attributed the decline to state-level support for enrolling immigrant children. The report found nationally nearly one in 10 Latino children are uninsured. In New York, that rate was 2.3 percent.
"It starts with the messaging from the top from our state leaders who really continue and talk about and create a climate that immigrants are welcome here and you're New Yorkers no matter where you are born," she said. "And it's about how programs are implemented.”