An estimated 21,000 more Connecticut residents lacked health insurance in 2017 than in the year before, according to a new report
The report from Connecticut Voices for Children analyzes newly released data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
Rachel Silbermann, economic and fiscal policy fellow with Connecticut Voices, says the rise in the number of the uninsured appears due to actions taken by the state Legislature in the summer of 2015.
“We believe the primary cause was budget cuts which led to 11,000 parents losing access to HUSKY A, which is Medicaid for children, parents and pregnant women,” she states.
Silbermann adds that when parents lose their health insurance, their children often end up uninsured as well, even if they are eligible for coverage.
The report also found that, when adjusted for inflation, median household income remained stagnant between 2016 and 2017, which means the economic outlook for families in Connecticut has not improved.
“There isn’t much change, and this is true for households overall, for white households, for black households and for Hispanic or Latino households as well,” Silbermann points out.
Although unemployment did decrease in that time period, poverty and child poverty did not go down significantly, in contrast to the rest of the country.
The Connecticut Voices for Children report makes several recommendations for legislative action to remove barriers to family health and economic security.
Silbermann says a major step would be making sure workers are paid a living wage.
“A gradual, phased-in increase of the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021,” she urges. “This would raise incomes for more than 500,000 people, which is about 32 percent of all Connecticut workers.”
Other recommendations include restoring the Earned Income Tax Credit to 30 percent of the federal level, and implementing paid family leave.