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Understanding health-care access and utilization disparities among Latino children in the United States

  • Author(s): Langellier, BA
  • Chen, J
  • Vargas-Bustamante, A
  • Inkelas, M
  • Ortega, AN
  • et al.
Abstract

It is important to understand the source of health-care disparities between Latinos and other children in the United States. We examine parent-reported health-care access and utilization among Latino, White, and Black children (≤17 years old) in the United States in the 2006-2011 National Health Interview Survey. Using Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition, we portion health-care disparities into two parts (1) those attributable to differences in the levels of sociodemographic characteristics (e.g., income) and (2) those attributable to differences in group-specific regression coefficients that measure the health-care 'return' Latino, White, and Black children receive on these characteristics. In the United States, Latino children are less likely than Whites to have a usual source of care, receive at least one preventive care visit, and visit a doctor, and are more likely to have delayed care. The return on sociodemographic characteristics explains 20-30% of the disparity between Latino and White children in the usual source of care, delayed care, and doctor visits and 40-50% of the disparity between Latinos and Blacks in emergency department use and preventive care. Much of the health-care disadvantage experienced by Latino children would persist if Latinos had the sociodemographic characteristics as Whites and Blacks.

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