Uninsured babies fare poorly

Uninsured infants are as much as 30 percent more likely to be born seriously ill or develop serious health problems than those from insured families, California researchers say.

A disproportionate number of blacks, Hispanics and Asian-Americans lack health insurance, researcher Geraldine Oliva, M.D., FAAP, says, but uninsured white infants are as likely to become seriously ill as members of other racial groups.

"The surprising thing about our study wasn't that blacks or Hispanics lacked access to health care because they don't have insurance," Dr. Oliva say, "It was that uninsured white infants are also more likely to be ill or die because they lack access." Dr. Oliva is director of Family Health and Prenatal Care at the San Francisco Public Health Department.

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