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Health Care Resources for Children and Pregnant Women

Janet D. Perloff
The Future of Children
Vol. 2, No. 2, U.S. Health Care for Children (Winter, 1992), pp. 78-94
Published by: Princeton University
DOI: 10.2307/1602563
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1602563
Page Count: 17
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Health Care Resources for Children and Pregnant Women
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Abstract

The author of this paper reviews evidence about the health care resources currently available to children and pregnant women in the United States. The data reveal that the overall supply of physicians has grown steadily in recent years. However, as a result of factors such as physicians' preferences for metropolitan practice locations, rising malpractice premiums, and physicians' reluctance to accept Medicaid patients, the increase in supply has not improved access for many underserved women and children. At the same time, there has been a significant decline in the number of organized settings--hospital clinics, public health clinics, and migrant and community health centers--on which many of the underserved rely. Further, the capacity of remaining facilities has been greatly diminished by reductions in support for public programs. Even if the supply of health care resources is adequate to meet the needs of most women and children, the persistent maldistribution of maternal and child health care providers will continue to pose a serious threat to health care access for the women and children at greatest risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes and morbidity and mortality during childhood. Policy strategies suggested to maintain and improve the availability of maternal and child health resources include: bolstering the supply of family physicians; reducing the problems related to medical professional liability; supporting the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) scholarship and loan repayment programs; increasing participation of physicians in serving Medicaid-eligible women and children; developing systematic data to evaluate the supply of maternal and child health care available in organized settings; and enhancing the capacity of organized settings to meet the needs of underserved children and pregnant women.

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