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Racial & Ethnic Disparities in Children’s Health Care

Posted By Angela On July 22, 2009 @ 3:18 pm In Resources | Comments Disabled

Press release from First Focus. July 22, 2009

NEW REPORT EXPOSES RACIAL AND ETHNIC DISPARITIES IN CHILDREN’S HEALTH CARE

Today, a new report has found that racial and ethnic disparities in children’s healthcare are “extensive, pervasive, and persistent.” In addition to identifying the leading children’s health disparities, the report also provides recommendations on how to eliminate them. First Focus, the bipartisan children’s advocacy organization who commissioned the report, pointed to its findings as evidence that health reform should include a strengthening of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).     “Access to quality healthcare is a right deserved by all children, regardless of race,” said Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus,. “Addressing health disparities for children requires several affirmative steps, many of which were included in the recent renewal of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. This report underscores the need to build upon the success of Medicaid and CHIP, which disproportionately enroll minority children and have been proven to reduce health disparities. Reform cannot leave those children worse off. Instead, Congress must ensure that the new system addresses racial and ethnic disparities in a manner that meets or exceeds that of Medicaid and CHIP.”   The report finds that children have ethnic and racial disparities across the health care spectrum, including mortality, access to care and use of services, prevention and population health, adolescent health, chronic diseases, special healthcare needs, quality of care, and organ transplantation. Moreover, having health insurance coverage results in a significant reduction of unmet needs for medical care. Unfortunately, the report finds that Latino and African American children account for 57 percent of all uninsured young people in America, even though they only represent 37 percent of the total population of children.    Entitled “Achieving optimal Health and Healthcare for All Children: How We Can Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Children’s Health and Healthcare,” the report was authored by Glenn Flores, M.D., Director of the Division of General Pediatrics, Professor of Pediatrics and Public Health, and the Judith and Charles Ginsburg Chair in Pediatrics at the University of Texas Southwestern and Children’s Medical Center Dallas. To reduce differences in rates of health insurance coverage and health disparities, Dr. Flores’ recommendations include: * The inclusion of the critically important aspects of Medicaid and CHIP that reduce health disparities as part of health reform. This includes consumer protections, language services, standards for access to care and cultural competency, comprehensive benefits, and limited or no cost sharing; * Automated enrollment, and automated renewal of health coverage, to reduce the number of uninsured children and health disparities; * Additional funding for outreach and enrollment of kids as well as the establishment of a Center for Children’s Benefit Outreach and Enrollment, just as there is for senior citizens and the disabled through Medicare; * Extending insurance coverage to all children, including both documented and undocumented immigrants; * Providing reimbursements for medical interpreter services in all insurance plans, as is found in Medicaid, CHIP, and Medicare; The report can be viewed at http://www.firstfocus.net/pages/3615.

###   First Focus is a bipartisan advocacy organization that is committed to making children and their families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. To learn more visit www.firstfocus.net

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