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November 8, 1995

The Effect on Children of Curtailing Medicaid Spending

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics (Dr Newacheck) and the Institute for Health Policy Studies (Drs Newacheck and Hughes), School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco; National Center for Youth Law, Chapel Hill, NC (Ms English); Fox Health Policy Consultants, Washington, DC (Ms Fox); Department of Pediatrics, University of California, Los Angeles (Dr Halfon); Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Mass (Dr Perrin).

JAMA. 1995;274(18):1468-1471. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530180062032

FEDERAL policymakers are considering a number of major changes for Medicaid and other social welfare programs serving children from low-income families. In this article we discuss the proposed spending reductions and programmatic changes for the Medicaid program because it is the single most important health program for low-income families with children. We present a description of the proposed changes, describe Medicaid's role in financing medical care to children, and assess the likely effects of the current proposals for reducing future growth in Medicaid expenditures on access to medical services and covered benefits.

See also pp 1429 and 1472.

Medicaid is an insurancelike program for financing medical, mental health, and dental services, as well as long-term care for low-income people. It is funded and administered jointly by federal and state governments. Medicaid is expected to serve 36 million people during 1995, up from 22 million in 1988.1,2 Although Medicaid has

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