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April 26, 2000

Access to Health Care for Adolescents—Reply

Author Affiliations

Phil B.FontanarosaMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorStephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;283(16):2101-2102. doi:10.1001/jama.283.16.2101

In Reply: We appreciate the efforts of Dr Diaz and colleagues to place our results within the context of larger policy issues. Because adolescents who report they do not get needed care are at increased risk of health problems, we believe that parents and the medical community together must address factors influencing adolescents to forgo health care. The strategies suggested by Diaz et al highlight critically important points.

First, efforts to increase the number of adolescents who have health insurance must take into account both the availability of health insurance and whether eligible adolescents are enrolled in insurance programs. CHIP expands the availability of health insurance for adolescents and is an important step toward correcting inequities in past Medicaid expansions, in which providing coverage for adolescents has historically been a low priority. However, enrolling eligible adolescents in CHIP may be challenging. The full potential of this program to increase numbers of insured adolescents will be realized only if outreach enrollment efforts are successful.1,2

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