Health of Children in Red States Suffers

"[Red states] tend to have a higher concentration of minorities," he said.

But Jost said the underlying causes of many of these factors could also be traced to differences in prevailing political ideologies between Republican and Democrat states.

"More liberal states probably have better food stamp, public assistance, housing and education programs," Jost said, adding that these factors tend to improve children's health.

And Petit believes the discrepancies between red and blue states are too significant to ignore.

"When … all 10 of the bottom states are red, all 20 of the bottom states are red, and 24 of the 25 bottom states are red, there's clearly some convergence going on there," he said.

"If you take a look at the self taxation rate … the top states are blue, the bottom states are red," said Petit. "Those tax burdens really are a function of political decision being made in the states."

Improvement Needed Across the Board

But whether the states are red or blue, the situation is far from the pink of health for many American children, Alpert said. "We should not forget that red and blue put together make a nation, and our nation's performance is the worst in the industrialized world.

"A view that looks at only the majority fails to take into account the more than 9 million children who did without health insurance for a full year in 2005, another 9 million who go without health insurance for about half the year, and millions more who are underinsured."

The solution, say Alpert and Jost, lies with federal lawmakers.

"I see the challenge as occurring at the federal level, because ultimately that's where that is going to have to be addressed," Alpert said.

"The solution is to get people insured," Jost said. "That is not going to happen through the private sector; the government is going to have to step in.

"It is a political problem, and it needs to be solved politically."

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