A Widening Rift in Access and Quality: Growing Evidence of Economic Disparities

Dec. 6, 2005
Health Affairs , Web Exclusive
Robert E. Hurley, Hoangmai H. Pham, Gary Claxton

Data from the Community Tracking Study provide a valuable perspective from which to observe how economic disparities—largely a function of different sources of coverage—influence access to medical care in the United States. Many recent investments and initiatives are focused on affluent communities and are accessible mainly to people with employer-based or Medicare coverage. For people with Medicaid or no coverage at all, access to basic care is worsening, as a result of stalled coverage expansions and service cutbacks. An improving economy could forestall further cuts and permit reversal of earlier ones, but progress in closing this rift does not appear imminent.

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