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States' Scorecard Finds Big Differences in Kids' Health Care
Date:5/28/2008

Those that have the most access to insurance tend to have healthier children

WEDNESDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) -- The quality of children's health care in America varies widely from state to state, as does their access to insurance and care and the likelihood of living long and healthy lives.

That's the conclusion of a new scorecard produced by the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that seeks to promote better health care for all Americans.

According to the scorecard, if all states performed as well as the top few states:

  • an additional 4.6 million children nationwide would have health insurance;
  • 11.8 million more children would get their recommended yearly medical and dental check-ups;
  • 10.9 million more children would have a "medical home" -- a regular source of care;
  • 1.6 million fewer children would be at risk for developmental delays;
  • and nearly 800,000 more children would be up-to-date on their vaccines.

Iowa, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire are the top performing states, according to the report, while Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Nevada and Texas are at the bottom.

"States and the federal government have a very high stake in ensuring that children are healthy," Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis said during a teleconference Tuesday. "In fact, more than one-third of children in the United States receive health care funded by the federal government as well as the 50 states and the District of Columbia."

The report, U.S. Variations on Child Health System Performance: A State Scorecard was released Wednesday.

There are 28 million children covered by Medicaid and 6 million covered by the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Davis noted. And the key to providing health care to children is insurance, Dr. Edward L. Schor, the Commonwealth Fund
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