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Many US Children Lack Essential Health Care

by Bidita Debnath on November 22, 2016 at 11:37 PM
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 Many US Children Lack Essential Health Care

More than a quarter of American children are not getting the health care they need, according to a new report from the nonprofit Children's Health Fund.

Dr. Irwin Redlener, who co-authored the report, sat down with CNN's Chris Cuomo on Monday morning to reveal the details. He said he hopes it will convince Donald Trump and members of his administration to not repeal and replace Obamacare, as the President-elect has pledged to do.

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Ms. Solomon, a 35-year-old mother from the Bronx, says she has struggled to find a doctor who accepts her insurance. Margo Solomon has health insurance for herself and her four children. But actually getting treatment is another matter. "I feel like I am all alone out here," Ms. Solomon said.

"We still have about 20 million children in America, even with insurance, who are not getting the kind of health care that they need," said Redlener, who is president of the Children's Health Fund and a professor of pediatrics at Columbia University. "That's really a big problem. It would have been for any administration, but we're concerned now because there's some threat that if we do eliminate the Affordable Care Act, we'll put millions of children at risk."
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The report found that 20.3 million people in the nation under the age of 18 lack "access to care that meets modern pediatric standards." Guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics say that all children should get health maintenance visits for immunizations and other preventive services; management of acute and chronic medical conditions; access to mental health support and dental care; and have round-the-clock availability of emergency services and timely access to subspecialists.

While Medicaid and many private insurance plans recommend or require that all of those services be provided, under the umbrella of what is known as the medical home, the study found that millions of insured children are not receiving many of the benefits.

Redlener, who supported Hillary Clinton in this month's presidential election and was going to be part of her transition team, said the focus needs to be on getting doctors to underserved areas and fixing the transportation system, rather than on changing the insurance system. He told Cuomo that he is reaching out to Trump's administration and thinks it will be receptive.

"There's been a lot of talk about fixing our infrastructure," he said. "Well, in some ways, children are human infrastructure. We need investments in children, at least as much as we need investment in our physical attributes."

The study relied on census data and reports by federal agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prominent medical journals, as well as information extrapolated from the fund's clinics and from its national network of programs that provide health care to underserved children across the country.

The findings reveal a system in which getting quality care is often confusing and expensive, with even those who benefit from government programs often becoming deeply frustrated.

Source: Medindia
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