Welfare Reforms Endanger Kids' Coverage. (Health Insurance)

Article excerpt

Parents moving off welfare and into the workforce put their children at greater risk of not having health care coverage, according to a study by University of Texas at Austin researchers. These youngsters were less likely to be insured if they had an employed parent, had two parents in their home, their family had been off welfare for a long time, or if they were Mexican-American, indicates Laura Lein, professor of social work and anthropology.

The researchers surveyed 800 households in San Antonio, Tex., to see how changes in welfare policy affect the daily lives of welfare-dependent and working-poor families and children. "We were looking at the impact of welfare-reform policies on these families," she explains. Welfare reform was instituted in 1995 by the state and by the Federal government in 1996. The Federal welfare law is scheduled for reauthorization this year. "If the goal was to drop welfare rolls, the reforms have been successful. However, most studies at the national and state levels show that the rate of employment of the people who have left welfare is between 50 and 60%. Most people who leave welfare, whether employed or not, remain in poverty. …

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