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Welfare Reform and Children's Health

Paul L. Geltman, MD; Alan F. Meyers, MD; Joshua Greenberg, JD; Barry Zuckerman, MD
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996;150(4):384-389. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1996.02170290050008.
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During the ongoing national discussion of proposals to reform health care financing, effects on the health status of children emerged as a special concern. Public attention has shifted away from comprehensive reform of the health care system and toward reform of the welfare system (primarily the Aid to Families with Dependent Children [AFDC] program), but this debate with its focus on parental behavior has not attended to the effects of reform on children's health and well-being. Yet the changes proposed will have a profound effect on the lives of children. Children's health status is determined by a multiplicity of factors, among which social and economic factors are especially important.1,2 Children living in poverty have poorer health than their more affluent peers,1-16 consequently, welfare system reform carries great implications for children's health. Welfare system reforms that reduce resources for low-income families will lead to a predictable increase in adverse

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