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September/October 2009 Annals of Family Medicine tip sheet
Date:9/21/2009

Universal Health Insurance Reduces Some Socioeconomic Disparities in Care
The experience of Ontario, Canada

Universal health insurance appears to reduce income inequities but not education-related disparities in health care according to Canadian researchers. Analyzing nationally representative claims data on more than 25,558 residents of Ontario, where necessary physician and hospital services are fully covered by government, researchers find patient income levels are not associated with inequities in physician contact or frequency of visits. They do find, however, that those with higher levels of education are more likely to see specialists, to be frequent visitors and to bypass primary care to reach specialists than are those with lower educational attainment. They assert that these patterns may be explained by better health knowledge and health attitudes, which lead to greater demand for care and better ability to navigate the system. They conclude that policy makers should consider the advantage of providing universal physician coverage as a means to reduce income inequities, but they point out that this strategy alone is unlikely to eliminate education gradients in use of physician services.

Universal Health Insurance and Equity in Primary Care and Specialist Office Visits: A Population-Based Study
By Richard H. Glazier, M.D., M.P.H., et al
Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto, Canada


Insured Children Have Unmet Health Care Needs if Parents Are Uninsured
Researchers call for universal health insurance coverage

Examining the relationship between parental insurance coverage and children's access to care, researchers find that when parents lack health insurance, their insured children are more likely to go without necessary medical and preventive services. Analyzing nationally representative data on 43,509 U.S. children aged 2-17 years, researchers found that insur
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Contact: Angela Sharma
asharma@aafp.org
913-269-2269
American Academy of Family Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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