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"Mapping the Access Path to Health Care" by Jarrett T. Barrios

Today, the Boston Globe has a story about how cost remains a significant barrier to health care. The data in the story comes from a joint survey project the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation embarked upon with the Globe.

In the coming months, as we have an opportunity to mine the data from the survey, the Foundation will release policy briefs examining other barriers to health and health care as experienced by low- to moderate-income residents of the Commonwealth. Topic areas will include regional disparities, emergency room usage, and access to community resources for health.

While the state’s health reform law gave hundreds of thousands of residents something many thought they’d never have — an insurance card — we all know that a card in your wallet is no guarantee of access to health and our health care system. Other salient factors include whether or not you have a primary care provider. Whether you can schedule appointments in a timely manner; whether you have access to good nutrition; and whether you live in a safe neighborhood.

These are important questions that deserve close study and scrutiny.

Toward that end, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation has partnered with JSI, Inc. to study barriers to care experience by low- and moderate-income residents of the Commonwealth and provide policy suggestions for easing those burdens.

This joint survey project with the Globe represents the first step in our examination of barriers to care. Visit BCBSMAFoundation.org for further updates.

Jarrett T. Barrios is the president of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.

This program aired on October 23, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.

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