A new report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families found that Florida led the nation in reducing the number of uninsured children during a three-year period.

The state dropped its rate of uninsured children by 4 percentage points from 2008 to 2010, earning it the No. 1 spot in the study’s rankings for changes in uninsured rate. Florida’s rate still remains higher than the national average.

Nationally, researchers found that “despite the fact that 19 percent more children were living in poverty, the number of uninsured children decreased by 14 percent – a true bright spot in an otherwise challenging landscape for America’s children,” according to their study, “Despite Economic Challenges, Progress Continues: Children’s Health Insurance Coverage in the United States from 2008-2010.”

According to the executive summary of the study (.pdf), “the progress for children can be attributed to the success of Medicaid and CHIP which have continued to fill the void created by a decline in employer-based health insurance, a high unemployment rate and the increasing cost of private health insurance.”

From 2008 to 2010 Florida was able to decrease its rate of uninsured children from 16.7 percent to 12.7 percent, the study (.pdf) found. However, that number remains well above the U.S. rate, which is 8 percent. In 2008, Florida reported 667,758 uninsured children. In 2010, the state reported 506,934 children without health insurance.

Florida joins 15 other states with rates higher than the national average.

According to the study, “just six states (Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, New York and Texas) account for more than half of the uninsured children nationally.”

In February of this year, the Commonwealth Foundation ranked Florida 47th in the foundation’s Child Health Care Scorecard. The score was largely linked to the state’s high uninsured rate among children.

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