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Commonwealth Fund to Study Access to Healthcare

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, February 8, 2012

The Commonwealth Fund has announced an ambitious effort to track a fixed group of low- and moderate-income adults over the next two years to see how this population fares in terms of medical care and health insurance as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is implemented.

The idea is to look at how access to healthcare insurance influences a host of medical issues, from access to preventive services, to ER use and physician relationships.

This week the Commonwealth Fund released the first in what it hopes will be a series of surveys involving 2,100 adults ages 19 to 64. It plans breakout studies on 19 to 29 year olds as well as 50 to 70 year olds later this year.

My kneejerk reaction when I first heard about this effort was to yawn. I mean we're all pretty familiar with the data documenting the struggles of this socio-economic group to access and afford healthcare—especially when they are uninsured.

But here's an interesting nugget from the first survey: The insured in this group have some of the same struggles as the uninsured.

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