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Medical News & Perspectives
June 9, 1999

Care Gap "Unconscionable"; Universal Coverage AAP Aim

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JAMA. 1999;281(22):2076-2077. doi:10.1001/jama.281.22.2076-JMN0609-3-1

Chicago—Universal child health care insurance coverage is the goal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, announced Joel J. Alpert, MD, president of the group, at the academy's meeting here last month.

"I find it unconscionable that we are the only nation in the developed world that fails to provide health insurance for all of its children," Alpert told AAP members at the first plenary session.

He cited the recent deaths of two New York City infants, ages 4 and 6 weeks, as examples of the potentially tragic effect of this failure. Alpert said that both died from malnutrition associated with breast-feeding problems. "One mother was turned away from the hospital where she went for the infant's 4-day check-up because she had neither a Medicaid card nor $25. The second mother was denied a Medicaid card and medical care because of bureaucratic delay and computer error. She received two Medicaid cards 1 week after her infant's death."

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