The Commonwealth Fund conducts a major survey on health insurance in the US every other year. They interview a random sample of adults in the US (more than 6,000 in this most recent survey) on their health coverage, medical debt, and access to care. Because they began the survey in 2001 and ask the same questions each year, it’s a good measure of the impact of health reform. The survey found substantial improvements in all three areas in 2014: more Americans have health coverage, fewer have medical debt or difficulty paying health bills, and fewer say they are putting off medical care because of cost. Of the three, the improvement was greatest in the reported ability to access care: the portion of working-age Americans saying that they delayed care because of cost fell from 43% in 2012 to 36% in 2014. This far outstrips the drop in the percentage who are uninsured, which fell from 19% to 16%. The finding presents an interesting counterpoint to the argument that the shift towards greater cost-sharing in employer health plans has resulted in employees putting off needed care.
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