From the Kaiser Network:In Colorado, uninsured children and children enrolled in Medicaid who are hospitalized at Children's Hospital in Denver are twice as likely as those with private insurance to die after hospitalization, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, the Denver Rocky Mountain News reports. For the study, two physicians at the hospital looked at hospitalization rates per 100,000 children ages six months to 18 years. The study finds that children enrolled in Medicaid are twice as likely as those with private insurance to be hospitalized for vaccine-preventable illnesses, complications of diabetes and asthma, and ruptured appendices (Brand, Denver Rocky Mountain News, 8/7). Regular preventive care visits by uninsured children and children enrolled in Medicaid would save Colorado $46 million, according to the study. The study also finds that the number of Colorado pediatricians who are willing to see Medicaid beneficiaries fell from 41.4% in 2000 to 23.9% in 2003. Eighty-three percent of Colorado pediatricians in 2003 said Medicaid reimbursements did not cover the cost of office visits (Auge, Denver Post, 8/7). Stephen Berman, head of general pediatrics at Children's Hospital and co-author of the study, said, "The paper, for the first time, provides the data that show there are huge potential savings in caring for these kids." Berman added, "The mortality rates are higher for children on Medicaid. They are higher because they are sicker, and they didn't get their primary care" (Denver Rocky Mountain News, 8/7).
Colorado Children Without Private Insurance Have Higher Mortality Rate
An abstract of the study is available online.