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Public health insurance offers insured infants better, less costly care than private plans
Date:12/7/2011

inute Apgar score, and the number of weeks the child was in the womb, which is considered an indicator of birth weight.

Poor families living at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level represented 49 percent of Roy's data set.

Demand for public health insurance has increased during the past decade, says Roy, while demand for private insurance has declined. Specifically, between 1999 and 2009 there was an increase in the overall proportion of children under 3 years of age who were insured. Of those, the proportion covered by private insurance declined. The proportion covered by public health insurance increased.

Other researchers have firmly established that infants who are covered by health insurance have timely access to quality care, Roy says. Expanding access could reduce, for example, the number of infants born with low birth weight, which is associated with chronic medical diseases like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease in adulthood. Low birth weight also has been linked to lower average scores on tests of intellectual and social development.

The United States has the highest infant mortality rate among developed nations due to low birth weight and is the only industrialized nation without universal health insurance. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a legal challenge to the Obama administration's new law requiring everyone have health insurance.


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Contact: Margaret Allen
mallen@smu.edu
214-768-7664
Southern Methodist University
Source:Eurekalert

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