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Disparity in Healthcare for Kids


Healthcare is not all created equal for children in Iowa.  Thats the conclusion of the latest survey conducted by The University of Iowa Public Policy Center.  More than 2,700 surveys conducted for the center compared medical care for White and Asian youngsters versus Hispanic and African American.  Policy Center Director Pete Damiano says the results show major differences including lower quality of care, higher urgent need for care and less access to care for the Hispanic and African American families.  Damiano says it would be easy to simply write off the disparity as a symptom of low income living in Iowa, but he says thats a very small part of the truth.  Damiano says only 10% of the problem is related to delivery of treatment and finances, then it gets complicated.  Lower income means you get that lack of cohesiveness in the neighborhood, the lack of safety in the schools which just snowballs on itself, they may not have the same number of healthcare providers available to them so they may have to travel further.  There may be language and cultural barriers to try to receive healthcare  .. so its really a much more complex issue than that.


In the latest of the policy center surveys, conducted since 2000, one other finding really jumped out at researchers.  One-third of Iowa families now report they sometimes dont have enough food in the house to feed even the children who live there.  Becci Reedus, Executive Director at the Crisis Center in Iowa City says the number is alarming but not at all surprising.  Her volunteers at the food pantry are seeing an increase of one-thousand people or more every year.  Reedus says demand for food at the center is at an all-time high.  She says medical bills for people who dont have insurance, low wages and heating bills in a brutally cold winter mean that a lot of people are struggling right now.  There are approximately 18,400 individuals in Johnson County who are food insecure.  Yes, its quite a bit .. startles you doesnt it?    Reedus says they are numbers representing hungry kids and adults that the center doesnt expect to see a decline anytime soon.


The University of Iowa Public Policy Center says it is not in the business of taking a position on the findings in its surveys or even offering solutions, but it makes all of the information available to lawmakers who might propose changes and in this case to healthcare workers who may be able to better serve the Iowa families who are impacted.

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