chapter  24
31 Pages

Health, Use of Medical Care, and Income

WithKAREN DAVIS, CATHY SCHOEN

Since improved access to medical care services for the poor is a common objective of many federal health care programs, it is useful to examine overall trends in medical care utilization and health status before analyzing individual programs. This chapter sets forth the best available evidence on the health problems of the poor, on how these problems differ in severity and type from those of other Americans, and on whether the poor receive adequate medical services. The care received by the poor is compared with that of others to determine whether the amount, type, convenience, quality, or setting of medical care differs by the patient’s income. But more important, the changes in these differences between income classes from the early 1960s to the 1970s-the years dur­ ing which so many new programs were introduced-are examined.