Moreover, perhaps, about 44 percent of the uninsured have consciously delayed getting needed medical treatment or simply foregone care altogether. Not surprisingly, they may also fail to seek preventive care, such as check-ups or follow-up doctor’s visits. The failure to seek needed care may cause the person to become sicker, until there is no choice but to seek care. By then, what might have been a minor or easily treatable problem may have turned into something more serious.
The fear of getting lesser care may not be without merit. A number of studies have shown that the uninsured are given less attention than those who have insurance. The Center for Studying Health System Change released a report in 1998 that showed the level of treatment for the uninsured varied depending in part on where they live. Those in large urban areas fare slightly better, even if they are poor, because there are usually more physicians and hospitals, as well as more social programs that might help them take care of their needs. A report released in 2000 by the Consumers Union (the publisher of Consumer Reports) revealed that the uninsured in general do receive lesser care than the insured.
This is not necessarily the fault of the health care profession. Part of the difficulty is that, as more people become uninsured, more seek help through the programs that are set up to help them. Eventually such programs get overwhelmed.