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May 1991

The Growing Neglect of American Children

Author Affiliations

From the Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairmen Inc, Salt Lake City, Utah, and the Department of Pediatrics, Children's Medical Center, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond.

Am J Dis Child. 1991;145(5):540-541. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1991.02160050066016

America is not doing enough to meet the health care needs of poor children. Unless we face up to this growing neglect, our nation's future is in doubt. Although we frequently hear that "children are our greatest national resource," we see little evidence to indicate that our policy makers believe it or are willing to act to prevent the terrible waste in human resources as a result of poverty. The money spent on health care for the elderly in America is 15 times that spent on health care for children.1 Although children represent 50% of the Medicaid population, they receive less than 20% of the money spent for health services.1 Furthermore, Medicaid reimbursement for health services for children is so low that few physicians in private practice can afford to see Medicaid patients.

The facts regarding impoverished children are staggering. They are cause for concern regarding the values

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