Advocates for Families in Need


211 7th Avenue N, Ste. 100

Nashville, TN 37219

Phone: (615)255-0331 Fax: (615)255-0354

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For Immediate Release


Michele Johnson

Executive Director

(615) 417-1492

The Tennessee Justice Center responds to new Census data showing 425,000 more uninsured children

Michele Johnson, Executive Director of the Tennessee Justice Center, released the following statement in response to Current Population Survey data released by the U.S. Census Bureau today showing that the number of uninsured children increased by 425,000, and the uninsured rate increased by 0.6 percentage points to 5.5 percent in 2018:

Making sure that every child in America gets a healthy start with comprehensive coverage has long been a bipartisan issue. For 30 years we have known that if kids have comprehensive health coverage, they will do better in school, are more likely to finish college, and less likely to depend upon public assistance as adults. That’s why national efforts have been steady and effective, led by giants like Senators Orin Hatch AND Senator Ted Kennedy and, in Tennessee, by Governor McWherther AND Governor Sundquist. Giving every child a pathway to success through comprehensive coverage is not a Republican value or a Democratic value. It’s an American value. Today’s news is tragic and heartbreaking. Bad decisions by public officials have created 425,000 newly uninsured children. 425,000 CHILDREN.  If you fill Neyland Stadium up 4 times, it’s still more kids than that.

Make no mistake – the erosion of children’s pathways to opportunity is not an act of God. It is coordinated, aggressive decisions made by both national and state leaders to play politics with our kids’ futures. Their laser focus on creating hurricanes of red tape, bureaucracy, and stigma instead of outreach and efficient renewal processes are beyond disappointing. The harm of their choices will be felt for generations. Tennessee continues to lead the nation in the growth of the number of uninsured children. We still don’t have answers about how Governor Lee will fix the system to give these children their coverage back. We now know these kids are not landing in employer-sponsored coverage, according to the report. They are simply losing coverage. These children deserve leaders who will work to get and keep them covered. This is a wake-up call to all of us who say every child is a precious gift. We must get and stay engaged. If we don’t, history will not judge us well.


The Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) is a non-profit public interest law and advocacy firm serving families in Tennessee. It gives priority to policy issues and civil cases in which the most basic necessities of life are at stake and where advocacy can benefit needy families statewide. TJC works to empower its clients by holding government accountable for its policies and actions.

TJC was established in 1996 and is located at 211 Seventh Avenue, North, Nashville, TN. For additional information about the Tennessee Justice Center and its services, call 615-255-0331.