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New state scorecard on children's health care finds wide geographic disparities
Date:2/1/2011

P>The report finds that where a child grows up matters for his or her ability to lead a healthy life into adulthood. Minnesota ranks first in the healthy lives category as a result of low rates of infant and child mortality, obesity, dental problems (toothache, decayed teeth or cavities, broken teeth, or bleeding gums), and children at risk for developmental delays, while Arkansas, Mississippi, and the District of Columbia rank last, with some of the worst rates on such indicators. The report also documents striking variations in childhood death rates, ranging from only nine child deaths for every 100,000 children ages 1 to 14 in Rhode Island, to 34 per 100,000 in Mississippi.

Equity

Uninsured, low-income, and minority children are at greater risk in nearly all states. Nationwide, more than one-third (35%) of low-income children have not received recommended medical and dental visits, while only one in five higher-income children have not gotten recommended check-ups. Disparities in oral health problems also stand out: in the five states with the largest gaps by income, 43 percent of children in low-income families had toothache, decayed teeth or cavities, broken teeth, or bleeding gums in the past six months, compared with 22 percent of children in higher-income families. The report also finds wide gaps by income, insurance, and minority status when it comes to children having a medical home. In addition, the report finds substantial racial/ethnic disparities in infant mortality rates.

Moving Forward

The significant gap between what is being achieved in high- and low-performing states points to a health care system that is failing to ensure that all children receive the care they need to optimize their health and development. The report authors point to the potential of reforms in the Affordable Care Act to provide all states with new opportunities to improve children's health care, including a renewed focus on the heal
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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