In this article we examine how increasing the reimbursement of physicians and expanding Medicaid eligibility affect access to care for children in Cook County, Illinois, which overlies Chicago. Using Medicaid claims and other data at the zip-code level, we compare the places where Medicaid children live with the places where all the physicians who treat children and those who accept Medicaid patients have their practices. Our findings suggest that the recent changes in legislation are unlikely to benefit extremely poor children, who are more likely to live in depressed inner-city areas, where there are few physicians. “Near-poor” children whose homes are dispersed throughout the county, who are now eligible for Medicaid as a result of the recent changes, are likely to see improvements in their access to care. Further changes in policy, aimed at enhancing the capacity of institutions providing care, could improve access for the children of the inner city.

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