The Impact of Welfare Reforms, Health, and Insurance Status on Welfare Recipients' Health Care Access

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This study explores ways in which welfare reforms have affected utilization of four health services (physician visits, hospital care, prescription medication, and dentist visits) and the impact of health insurance on these services. A secondary data analysis of a nationally representative sample of 1,259 non-elderly adult current and former welfare recipients shows that use of health services is significantly affected by state-specific welfare policy, health insurance, and race/ethnicity, when other variables are controlled. More restrictive state welfare policies were variously associated with lower likelihood of using dental care, visiting a physician and using prescriptions. Non-Hispanic whites in the sample were more likely than members of other racial/ethnic groups to use prescriptions; Hispanics were less likely than non-Hispanic whites to visit physicians or dentists. The proportion of respondents reporting fair or poor health was three times as great as the estimated proportion of non-elderly adults reporting fair or poor health in the general population. Policy implications are discussed.



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