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February 7, 1972

Money for Medical Care

JAMA. 1972;219(6):747. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03190320051019

Roughmann et al1 regard a social-action program as a largescale experiment intended to improve an undesirable situation. With this in mind, they have watched closely the effects of Medicaid which, by reducing financial barriers, had been assumed to affect access to and availability and quality of medical care for low-income families—the welfare recipients and the medically indigent. Money was to make a difference.

In the authors' community (Rochester, Monroe County, New York), by 1970, nearly all children eligible for Medicaid had been enrolled. Accordingly, the authors sought to ascertain whether money had changed patterns of medical care for the young. They found that it had not. Whereas most children not on Medicaid received care from private physicians, the numbers of Medicaid children receiving such service declined from 45% in 1967 to 30% in 1969, presumably due to changes in the law between those years. More disturbing, the numbers of Medicaid