Embargoed Until:
September 17, 2009
12:01 a.m. Eastern Time


Sue Ducat

Health Affairs Article Examines Spending Patterns in Children's Health Care Programs

Also Online: Three Reflections on Senator Kennedy's Health Care Legacy

Bethesda, MD -- As the Administration and Congress work feverishly to bring about health care reform, Health Affairs, the leading health policy journal, is releasing another article in its coverage of ways to bend the cost curve. Health Affairs today published an article about spending patterns in two children's health programs by researchers from the Urban Institute, the University of Michigan and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

This study found that spending in Medicaid and CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program) was the highest among children with chronic health problems: 10 percent of all those enrolled account for 72 percent of the spending. Among these high-spending children, two-thirds have chronic health care problems. In contrast, 30 percent of those children enrolled rarely used the programs. The paper contrasts the demographic differences between heavy users and non-users, and notes that 'non-users, while healthier, are getting little preventative care, such as well-child visits and dental checkups. With so little contact with providers, these children are at increased risk of having health problems that go undiagnosed and untreated.' The authors conclude that 'the results highlight the importance of cost containment strategies that reduce avoidable hospitalizations among children with chronic problems and policies that increase preventative care, particularly among African American children.' The research was funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and AHRQ.

Many have lamented the absence of Senator Edward Kennedy during the current health care negotiations. A few days after his death, Health Affairs published tributes from three who knew Senator Kennedy: David Blumenthal, David Nexon, and Theodore Marmor. These are now available as Web Exclusives.


Health Affairs, published by Project HOPE, is the leading journal of health policy. The peer-reviewed journal appears bimonthly in print with additional online-only papers published weekly as Health Affairs Web Exclusives at www.healthaffairs.org.


©2009 Project HOPE–The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.