The importance of access to health care services in society determines the standards and state of health within a population. Health disparities is a big issue in the United States and is defined as inequality of the care that a person or community get due to certain factors. Some believe that these factors are just racial related but there are many more factors that are considered. Disparities in health do not refer only to ethnic and racial disparities, but rather the general health situation in the community. Access to health care services determines the disparities that exist in society, and this affects all ethnic and racial groups in the country.
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The disparity is determined by the extent of health outcomes within a population, meaning that all factors around an individual including their environment, age and even socioeconomic status will play a key role in determining their health (HealthyPeople2020, 2014). According to Obama Facts, in the course of 5 years, more than one hundred thousand Americans died in the United States because of lack of access to health care services (Facts on Deaths Due to Lack of Health Insurance in US). Unfortunately, this number also includes infants and children that are affected as well by the lack of healthcare due to disparities. In the following essay, it will be further discussed why some children face barriers to accessing health care services because of different factors and the policy that has been established to help with this issue.
Barriers for Children
There are many factors that can influence whether a child receives healthcare or not. One of the first mentioned factors is the geographic location. If the parent or guardians of that child have no means to get to a medical facility, then how are they supposed to get the needed care? A second factor that is taken into consideration is the financial aspect especially those that are considered poor. “The opportunity cost of seeking health care is likewise relatively higher for poorer than wealthier households. This is because the poor often earn income directly from their labor. Caring for sick children may divert the labor and time of poor parents away from income-generating activities, thereby reducing household income” (BARRIERS TO ACCESS TO CHILD HEALTH CARE). Culture plays a big role as well when it comes to somebody receiving healthcare. If that child’s religion or culture have traditions that prevent them from receiving healthcare, then this is something the child has no control over. A big challenge that healthcare professionals face is the patient’s lack of knowledge and importance of bringing one’s child for checkups and/or when to bring them in to get seen for an acute visit. Approximately 70 percent of child deaths is down to delays in delivering health care services, and this means that caregivers have to be familiar with specific health institutions where they know they will get good service (BARRIERS TO ACCESS TO CHILD HEALTH CARE).
When they are brought in but don’t have the finances to pay for the services, the quality of care lowers. Inequality of care in not something that is rare in the healthcare system. A child with an expensive healthcare insurance will receive high quality care compared to the child that came through the emergency room and has no type of coverage. Healthy People 2020 have chosen Health Disparities as one of their overarching goals and are working to end this in the world. The objective of ‘Healthy People 2000’ was to reduce health disparities among Americans. The focus of this group was not just the reduction of health disparities that exist in the community, but achieving health equity for all the relevant groups in society to guarantee equal access to health services (HealthyPeople2020, 2014).
Children’s Health Insurance Program
There are families that are financially unable to pay for healthcare insurance and are covered under Medicaid benefits. Although this is fortunate, there are the middle-class families that just make a little more about the cut off to be considered under Medicaid. In 1997, Children’s Health Insurance program was developed and establish to help these families with children so they could be covered and receive care. The two programs have helped reduce the uninsured rate among children and, from 1997 after the enactment of CHIP, to 2012, the uninsured rate among children dropped from 14 percent to 7 percent. Several millions of children accessed health insurance covers, and this new low in the number of uninsured children was a positive breakthrough in getting more children access to health services. The group of children specifically targeted were those below the federal poverty level, and the general uninsured rate during this period would drop from 25 percent to15 percent. (Paradise, 2014). This program has greatly reduced the percentage of children that go without receiving care because poor children continue to suffer as cost-effective child health interventions fail to reach them.