Objective: To examine racial-ethnic differences in asthma controller medication use among insured U.S. children.
Data sources: Linked nationally representative data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (2005-2008), the 2000 Decennial Census, and the National Health Interview Survey (2004-2007).
Study design: The study quantifies the portion of racial-ethnic differences in children's controller use that are attributable to differences in need, enabling and predisposing characteristics.
Principal findings: Non-Hispanic black and Hispanic children were less likely to use controllers than non-Hispanic white children. Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition results indicated that observable characteristics explain less than 40 percent of the overall differential in controller use between non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks. In contrast, observable characteristics explain more than two-thirds (71.3 percent) of the overall non-Hispanic white-Hispanic differential in controller use. For non-Hispanic blacks, a majority of the explained differential in controller use were attributed to enabling characteristics. For Hispanics, a significant portion of the explained differential in controller use was attributed to predisposing characteristics. In addition, a larger portion of the differential in controller use was explained by observable characteristics for publicly insured non-Hispanic black and Hispanic children.
Conclusions: The large observed differences in controller use highlight the continuing challenges of ensuring that all U.S. children have access to quality asthma care.
Keywords: Children; asthma controller medications; decomposition; insurance status; race-ethnicity.
© Health Research and Educational Trust.