Measuring the cost of universal coverage requires estimates of the uninsured access gap-the additional care that the uninsured would consume. Estimates of this gap from existing literature span a wide range. Using databases that are the source of these estimates, this paper explores differences that might account for the range of estimates including time, population, control variables, and definitions. Adjusting for these differences, estimates of the uninsured access gap are considerably narrowed. The new estimates indicate that health consumption by the uninsured would increase 50 percent--implying an increase in total health care spending of about 2 percent.
Originally published in: Inquiry, v. 31, Winter 1994/1995, pp. 405-414.
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