Objectives. We investigated whether access to and use of health care services increased among residents of a low-income, predominantly Mexican American border community affected by the expansion of Arizona's Medicaid program in 2001 and multiple community-level programs and policies. Methods. We used data from a probability sample of 1623 adult residents of Douglas, Arizona, who participated in cross-sectional health surveys in 1998 and 2010. Response rates were 83% and 86%, respectively. Results. In 2010, participants were more likely to have a usual source of care, to have visited a provider in the previous year, and to have been screened for diabetes and hypertension and less likely to have delayed needed care or to have seen a regular provider in Mexico (P < .001 for all outcomes). Improvements in access to and use of health care were most pronounced among residents with less than a high school education, which reduced or eliminated educational disparities in health care. Conclusions. Expansion of public insurance programs can effectively reduce health care disparities when paired with other community-level policies and programs that target medically underserved populations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health