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More child health insurance would pay off

HOUSTON, June 16 (UPI) -- An estimated 8 million U.S. children are uninsured, but providing them health insurance would yield substantial economic benefits, researchers said.

"Providing health insurance to all children in America will yield substantial economic benefits," Vivian Ho of the Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University's Baker Institute said in a statement.

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Ho and Marah Short, also of the Baker Institute in Houston, based their research on recent studies published in peer-reviewed journals to examine the evidence regarding the economic impact of failing to insure all children in the United States.

The study said that children would receive better healthcare and enjoy better health, thereby improving their productivity as adults, the researchers said.

The cost incurred by providing universal coverage to children "will be offset by the increased value of additional life years and improved health-related quality of life gained from improved healthcare," Ho said. "From a societal perspective, universal coverage for children appears to be cost-saving."

The State Children's Health Insurance Program covered 6.6 million children at some point in 2006 and while every state has an approved plan, several million children are remain uninsured because their working parents make above the income cutoffs, work for employers that do not offer health insurance and cannot afford private health insurance.

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The report is at http://www.bakerinstitute.org/publications/HPF-pub-HoShortUninsuredChildren-060309.pdf/view.

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