Nevada Comes In Last For Children’s Health Care

According to a report issued today by the Commonwealth Fund, Nevada is in last place when it comes to health care for children. According to a story published by the Las Vegas Review Journal,  “Nevada ranked 48th in access, dead last in prevention and 43rd in potential to living healthy lives in the future.” 

Nevada is so far behind front-runner Iowa, that in order to catch up, “161,540 more children up to age 17 in the Silver State would have to receive both routine and preventive medical and dental care visits each year.”

In spite of these numbers, Governor Brian Sandoval still suggested cutting reimbursement rates by 15% for physicians involved in the Medicaid program. Over 275,000 people are currently enrolled in Medicaid, with 3,000-4,000 more people joining each month. However, more and more doctors are opting out of the Medicaid program because their costs aren’t being covered. If these cuts are approved, even more children will be without healthcare access. One-third of the children in Nevada are already being seen via public programs.

According to Dr. Forman, who spoke with the Las Vegas Review Journal, “You’ll actually see people using emergency rooms, the most expensive way to deliver health care, far more than they do now for their children’s health care.” 

This trend isn’t a surprising one, considering that only 45% of children in Nevada have a “medical home,” meaning a doctor that they see regularly. This may be due to the lack of doctors in Nevada. The Las Vegas Review Journal reports that “in 2007, the last year with firm statistics, the state had 218 physicians per 100,000 residents, ranking 48th among states in the number of physicians per capita.” 

The shortage is especially noticeable in more rural areas. Unfortunately, the impact is becoming clear. Over 30% of children have issues with their oral health. Another 34% of children are obese.

The good news is that 83.4 percent of children ages 0-18 have some sort of health insurance. However, there is a group of children whose parents cannot afford coverage because their employers don’t offer health insurance, but they make too much to qualify for Medicaid. 

In Nevada, a family of four with two children over the age of six cannot make more than $1,838 per month. Nevada also has a tightly constrained budget right now, which will make future care even less likely.

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Photo thanks to Eden pictures via Flickr

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Susanne R.
Susanne R.4 years ago

Kathy M. -- According to the Wall St. Journal, Nevada has one of the "leanest" Medicaid programs in the country. I live in New York State, which spends more than twice as much as the national average in that area. Trust me, I do pay, and probably a whole lot more than you do. But I don't resent doing it because I care about children --and I couldn't live with the alternative. My children are now adults and living in different townships. Should I resent the substantial amount I have to pay each year for school taxes, even though my youngest child graduated from high school over 14 years ago? Of course it hurts to write those checks, but I really believe that "It Takes a Village."

Just out of curiousity --my comment was directed at Governor Sandoval, not you. Most of the respondents expressed opinions that were very similar to mine. What made you take my comment so personally?

jane richmond
jane richmond4 years ago


Justin Kidd
Justin Kidd4 years ago

I currently reside in Nevada. This does not surprise me. For quite a long time, WAY before Reagan nominated Goldwater, the Battle Born State has marketed itself as the No Tax State. "Tax" is a four-letter word here. Sandoval is merely "giving the public what it wants." This does not excuse the governor or the state, but it explains the absurdity. Health care for its poorer citizens (even the old ones who were induced to come here by the lack of taxes), decent public education and higher education, serious efforts to develop a diversified economy--all these things require the state to spend some money collected by using its taxing power, and the voters here would rather shoot themselves in the foot than pay a tax. The old Southern senator who claimed that all he had to do to get re-elect was to say the "N" word over and over from the stump? Here it's the "T" word.

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman4 years ago

outrageous is right:-0

Petra Luna
Petra Luna4 years ago

I realize the economy makes it hard. But to cut back on healthy kids care? Then blame the parents for neglect if the medical care isn't up to par.

Sharon Beth L.
Sharon Beth Long4 years ago

The reason that Florida is more doctor friendly is because they have no limits on malpractice insurasnce awards. this is largely why doctors chagre more. With regard to the health care debate malpractice insurance is the invisible elephant in the room that no one talks about. Maybe the insurance companies have squelched the debate.

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle4 years ago

Frankly, I was surprised, that Nevada, of all places, should be lowest. No child should be without medical care.

Rosie Lopez
Rosie Lopez4 years ago


Jeannie Miner
Jeannie Fuchs4 years ago

Children are our future! This is very sad to read.

Chris C.
Chris C.4 years ago

And by the way James P...for your Dr friends that went to Florida...Florida has the most greedy, price gouging medical practices in the nation. My mother who had Alzheimers, was getting worse and my Dad ended up having to sell their mobile home and moving back to Minnesota with my Mom for there was no way he could have afforded a live-in nurse or nursing home in Florida, for it was triple the cost of Minnesota. My fellow siblings and I also feel it was that quack in Florida that hastenend my mothers alzheimers with all the drugs he pushed on her that she supposedly needed. When they got up to MN, she had enough pill bottles to fill a grocery bag. The Dr's in MN finally got her off most of them before her death, but I was not happy with the medical care in Florida.