Louisiana ranks low in children's healthcare - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Louisiana ranks low in children's healthcare

Reported by Crystal Price

Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - According to a newly released report, the state of Louisiana is far behind when it comes to children's well-being.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation shows Louisiana's child poverty rate in 2007 was the second highest in the country.

Louisiana is also ranked 49th on two basic measures of babies' health-infant mortality and low birth weight babies.

Only half of Louisiana's children are covered by public health insurance.

"People will put off a lot of visits because they feel like they can't afford it," says Anatole Karpovs.

Doctors believe the greatest concerns for improving child health care in our city are cost and prohibitive insurance policies.

"A lot of times there are middle class families who cannot afford to be insured, so they take a risk," says Karpovs. "Because if there is a catastrophic injury or illness, they're going to spend a lot of money out of pocket."

The costs of immunizations and vaccines can be up to $300 for uninsured patients.

"I really feel there must be ways to reduce some of those costs or to control them," says Karpovs.

Karpovs thinks patients might not completely trust their children's pediatricians when it comes to vaccines.

"They don't want to believe or they think pediatricians are biased," says Karpovs. "But we're really pushing this for a good reason, to prevent some serious childhood illnesses."

Doctors say the main way to prevent long term illnesses is to keep your child immunized and healthy in their early years.

"These things dovetail into adulthood and then you save a lot of money, not only that but misery in the long term" says Karpovs.

(Copyright 2009 KPLC-TV. All rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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