Good access to health care for all US children and youth remains an important social policy goal. Recent patterns of access as reflected in the presence of regular care sources, health care use, health insurance coverage, and expenditures for medical care are described and analyzed using the subsample of all children 0 to 18 years of age from the 1980 National Medical Care Utilization and Expenditure Survey. Data from the survey indicate that in 1980, 92% of US children and youth had a regular care source and the same percentage were covered for the full year or part of the year by some form of public or private health insurance. However, use rates and patterns of expenditure continued to differ dramatically according to family background factors, particularly race, ethnicity, poverty status, and location of residence. These differences are analyzed and comparative data are presented for groups of children from various sociodemographic groups. Minority-group and near-poor children were found to be at highest risk for limited utilization of services and inadequate insurance coverage.
- health care
- medical care
- National Center for Health Statistics
- National Medical Care Utilization and Expenditure Survey
- physician visits
- Received October 17, 1984.
- Accepted June 19, 1985.
- Copyright © 1985 by the American Academy of Pediatrics