Health Care For Minority Children Improved

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Healthcare disparities remain between white and minority children, but thegaps narrowed over the past 20 years, according to a report sponsoredby the Foundationfor Child Development andreleased on Wednesday by the NewAmerica Foundation, CQHealthBeat reports(Grimaldi, CQ HealthBeat,1/29). For the study, researchers looked at data records of minorityand white children from 1985 to 2004 that were based on 28 measures,including health, income and education. The measures then werecombined to determine the child well-being index (Koch, USAToday, 1/28).


According to the report, the number of white, black andHispanic children with health insurance has increased since 1985.Coverage for white children was at its lowest point in 1996, andcoverage for black and Hispanic children was at its lowest point in1998, the study found. Donald Hernandez, the report's co-author andsociology department chair at the Universityat Albany-State University of New York,attributed the growth in coverage to SCHIP. He said, "There arethese increases over the next seven, eight years, which seems quitelikely to be due to SCHIP because there was a big expansion, a bigincrease in access to health insurance for kids."

Thereport found that the disparity in health coverage for Hispanicchildren decreased from 18% to 12% over the study period and from 6%to 5% for black children. The study also found that black children in2004 faced a 49% disadvantage to white children in the overall healthdomain, down from 56% in 1985. In addition, the study found that forblacks, child mortality rates improved by 40%, infant mortality ratesimproved by 20%, low birthweight improved by 10% and subjectivehealth status improved by 20%. The study found Hispanic childrenfaced a 1% disadvantage to whites in 2004, compared with 14% in1985.

Hernandez said further developments in SCHIP legislationcould lead to more improvements in the coverage rates, adding thatthe study suggests "additional efforts to fund the program wouldbe successful" (CQ HealthBeat,1/29).

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