updated 3/15/2007 9:24:30 AM ET 2007-03-15T13:24:30

About 47 percent of parents in families earning less than $40,000 a year are offered health insurance through their employers — a 9 percent drop during the past decade.

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The figure underscores concern that low-income parents are experiencing a dramatic erosion in employee benefits, said the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funded the research.

The foundation says the research also shows the importance of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which has been in effect for a decade. One of the biggest debates in Congress this year will be over how much funding to set aside for the program, which now covers about 6 million children.

The research also indicated that about 9 million children are still uninsured, even though about two-thirds of them potentially could participate in existing government programs if only their parents would enroll them.

The states with the highest percentage of uninsured children were Texas, 20.3 percent; Florida, 16.9 percent; and New Mexico, 16.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the states with the lowest rate of uninsured children were Vermont, 5.6 percent; New Hampshire, 6 percent; and Michigan, 6.1 percent.

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