Does the Health Care Safety Net Narrow the Access Gap?

Brief

Does the Health Care Safety Net Narrow the Access Gap?

Using data from the 1997 National Survey of America's Families and county-level data on local safety net conditions, the authors find little variation in utilization and access among low-income adults by local safety net conditions, but very large differences by insurance status, after controlling for individual demographic characteristics and health care market characteristics. This suggests that expanding insurance coverage would be a more effective tool for increasing health care use and access among low-income adults than expanding the safety net.

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