Medicaid beats other insurance for children with special health care needs

A new study by Kreider and colleagues is out in JAMA Pediatrics which compares parents’ experiences with various forms of insurance coverage. On ten of fourteen measures, Medicaid looks better than private insurance coverage and compares favorably with CHIP coverage, too.

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The findings provide valuable corrective to people who unfairly criticize and overlook its many strengths for low-income people and the disabled. Yet it’s more concerning when we think about qualified health plans on the new state marketplaces. I worry that these will fall far short of what Medicaid offers to low-income people and those with special needs. With so many knife fights over ACA, the public conversation hasn’t intensively focused on children with special health care needs. It’s time to pay more attention.

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Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect,, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

2 thoughts on “Medicaid beats other insurance for children with special health care needs”

  1. Assumptions made by health care providers while taking a sexual or social history of lesbian patients can compromise the quality of health care that a lesbian receives, as can overt discrimination or homophobia. And a previous negative experience with a homophobic health care provider could discourage a lesbian woman from seeking care in the future, including preventive care or screening, which would further jeopardize her health.

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