Increased access to medical care: the impact on health
Many federally financed programs have been launched to improve the access of the poor to medical care, under the assumption that this will improve their health. The effectiveness of these programs, however, has generally been measured by increased utilization rather than by improved health. The few studies which have considered health status have shown small or negative effects. Here, data are presented from a project which provided fully prepaid care to near poor families through existing sources in the community. A group of 748 enrollees was found to report worse health on four of five health indicators after one year of enrollment in the program; further, they appeared sicker on all five measures than a group without free medical care. It is suggested: 1) that the impact of health programs on the health of a population is a complex and poorly understood issue; and 2) that increasing access to health care may not be an effective way to improve health.
Paula Diehr. "Increased access to medical care: the impact on health" Med Care 17.10 (1979): 989-999.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/paula_diehr/30