Is the Recession Increasing Access to Health Care?

August 26, 2011

A study by the Center for Studying Health Change finds that fewer Americans are experiencing unmet health needs or delaying medical care. This is true for both those with and without health insurance. But why? The authors speculate that:

[It] was most likely because of an overall decline in demand for health services that loosened heath system capacity constraints for patients seeking care. During a time of economic hardship for many, patients may have become savvier and more cost conscious health care consumers by cutting back on care, which has been observed by some providers.

This study is hugely important. It is further evidence that non-price rationing is the most important barrier to care. (See previous post and David Henderson.) Authors’ prediction: non-price rationing will intensify under ObamaCare.