Debt and Foregone Medical Care in the Great Recession: A Population-Based Study in Southeast Michigan

Sarah A. Burgard, University of Michigan
Lucie Kalousova, University of Michigan

Foregone medical care due to financial limitations is an important population health and policy problem, and its prevalence may have increased due to the “Great Recession” of the late 2000s and subsequent slow economic recovery. While studies have shown the association between income or financial strain and foregone medical care, very few have examined how additional dimensions of socioeconomic position, specifically debt, might affect the use of medical care. In this analysis, we use newly available data from the Michigan Recession and Recovery Study, a population-based study collected in late 2009/early 2010, to assess whether assessing various dimensions of debt adds to our understanding of the link between financial conditions and foregone medical care in the shadow of the Great Recession. Preliminary results show that those foregoing care have considerably worse debt profiles, even net of income differences, suggesting a heretofore underrecognized dimension of disparity in access to health.

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Presented in Session 208: Economic Contractions and Health Behaviors