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U.S. kids without insurance miss doctor visits, study says

August 09, 2004|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — Nearly half of the 8.5 million U.S. children who lack health insurance have not seen a doctor or nurse for a medical checkup in the past year, a new study has found.

One third of uninsured children have no regular source of medical care such as a pediatrician, meaning they are probably going to be taken to an emergency room for routine needs, the study said.

"What these data tell us is what low-income working parents across this nation already know -- that not having health insurance is bad for our nation's children," said Dr. John Lumpkin of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which released the study Tuesday.

"Without insurance too many children are missing the regular checkups and preventive care that will prepare them to do their best in school. In this, the richest nation in the world, no child should be without healthcare coverage."

The study by the Urban Institute used statistics from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to show that 48% of uninsured children had not had a well-child visit in the past year.

In comparison, 70% of children with private or public health insurance had a checkup in the past year, the report said. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children get eight routine examinations by the time they are 2, in part to get key vaccinations.

Many, if not most of these uninsured children would be eligible for Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program, the study found. year.

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