1 In 4 US Children Lacks Access To Health Care: Study

Posted: Nov 22 2016, 11:36am CST | by , Updated: Nov 22 2016, 8:54pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

 
1 in 4 US Children Lacks Access to Health Care: Study
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More than 20 million kids in the United States do not have full access to essential health services.

Improving access to health care for everyone has been a prime objective of U.S. governments in recent years and extraordinary federal efforts have also ensured that more American children than ever are being benefited by different healthcare programs like State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medicaid and Obamacare.

But there are still more than 20 million U.S. children that do not have full access to essential health services. The number accounts for approximately 28% of all kids in United States under the age of 18 years.

According to the latest study, 3.3 million children in United States are uninsured today. 10.3 million kids are insured but lack timely access to the healthcare while 6.7 million kids have access to primary care but there needs are not properly fulfilled. The report points to the fact that having health insurance does not necessarily guarantee the availability of an affordable medical care or a primary care within a child's geographic area.

“Based on collective research and impact of Medicaid, CHIP and ACA, the child uninsurance rate fell from 13.9 percent in 1997 (9.6 million) to 4.5 percent (3.3 million) in 2015 – a drop of more than 67%. But there is still much to be done,” report says.

There are several barriers that are restricting the access of primary health care to children, including financial, geographical and informational barriers. For instance, people lack a transportation to get a child to a doctor or clinic or find it difficult to pay heavy billings or buy expensive prescription drugs. CHF says that there are over 13.1 billion children whose families report either having problems paying medical bills or being unable to pay medical bills. Another barrier is language where parents with limited English proficiency have difficulty understanding the complex health care system.

“Not only does failing to address health care access barriers threaten and undermine the wellbeing of children, but it also may have a direct impact on a child’s ability to succeed academically and enter the workforce at their full potential.” Authors wrote in the study.

“Loss of later productivity and the extraordinary costs of remediation will clearly have deleterious consequences for the future economic strength and vibrancy of United States. The stakes could not be higher.”

The process has a long way to go before we can say that all U.S. children are having access to the care they need.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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