krou writes "A new study by a team from Rutgers and Columbia has discovered that poorer children are more likely to be given powerful antipsychotic drugs. According to the NY Times (login required), 'children covered by Medicaid are given powerful antipsychotic medicines at a rate four times higher than children whose parents have private insurance. And the Medicaid children are more likely to receive the drugs for less severe conditions than their middle-class counterparts.' It raises the question: 'Do too many children from poor families receive powerful psychiatric drugs not because they actually need them — but because it is deemed the most efficient and cost-effective way to control problems that may be handled much differently for middle-class children?' Two possible explanations are offered: 'insurance reimbursements, as Medicaid often pays much less for counseling and therapy than private insurers do,' and because of 'the challenges that families in poverty may have in consistently attending counseling or therapy sessions, even when such help is available.' The study is due to be published next year in the journal Health Affairs."
The full article is available behind a paywall from the first link. The lead author of the study said he "did not have clear evidence to form an opinion on whether or not children on Medicaid were being overtreated."