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December 25, 1996

Public Health Advocates Target Children's Health

JAMA. 1996;276(24):1938. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540240016008

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AS THE 1900s slip into history, public health experts want to battle children's health threats with the same tenacity— and success—as they fought infectious diseases at the turn of the last century.

During its recent annual meeting in New York City, the American Public Health Association (APHA) called on President Clinton and Congress to develop a universal health care program for children, and it offered recommendations to help create such a program.

E. Richard Brown, PhD, immediate past president of APHA, called the proposal "urgent and feasible."

The feasibility lies in using existing options such as Medicaid waivers to achieve universal coverage for children, without extensive new programming or cost. Urgency, Brown said, is a by-product of the new welfare law that reduces cash and food stamp benefits while throwing several facets of Medicaid eligibility into question. He cited an estimate by the Urban Institute in Washington, DC, that the