Statcast Number 1 Transcript

DATE: December 3, 2007

PUBLICATION: “Health, United States, 2007″

SPOKESPERSON: Amy Bernstein, project lead on the annual report on the nation’s health, discusses the new chartbook section on access to care.

BERNSTEIN: Well, we estimate that there about 40 million adults age 18 and over and didn’t get medical care from a physician, drugs, mental health care, dental care or eye glasses because they said they couldn’t afford it…

ANNOUNCER: Statcast… December 3, 2007

HOST: Amy Bernstein is the director of a team of analysts at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics which produces the report “Health, United States” each year. “Health U.S.” is widely considered to be the “almanac of health statistics,” a compilation of over 150 tables on every topic from birth to death, including the latest information on a number of important health measures as well as a rich collection of data on the country’s health care system. This year, the 31st edition of “Health, United States” features a special chart book section on access to health care.

Amy, why is “Health, U.S.” sometimes referred to as the report card on the nation’s health?

BERNSTEIN: I think that’s a catchy way of saying that it has a lot of data and a lot of numbers that provide information on a lot of dimensions of the health care system and because it looks at the health that people have on a regular basis – that is every year – and it has lots of numbers and people can draw conclusions from it, sometimes people call it a report card but we don’t actually grade the health system, so it’s not really a report card…

HOST: Now you have the special chartbook section on access to care – what significant findings are in the chartbook?

BERNSTEIN: In the special feature of the chartbook – again the access to care section – I would say that the main finding is that there’s a substantial number of people who are having difficulty obtaining care that they need and that’s not a new finding necessarily, but there are again many different reasons that people don’t get the care they need including: they don’t have transportation, they don’t have supply available to them…

HOST: How does the U.S. compare with other countries when it comes to access to care?

BERNSTEIN: We don’t know specifically how it compares to other countries. We collect data on the United States and not on other countries – there have been other studies done that show that we are clearly we’re more likely to have uninsured adults than other countries are but it’s very difficult to make comparisons when countries have such specific health care systems and geographies and specialty distributions that we really weren’t able to address that in this report.

HOST: Now what would you like people to remember most about this year’s report?

BERNSTEIN: I think again that the take-home message that I would want people to come away with is that access to care, while in the news a lot these days, is a very complicated issue and that it’s more than just lack of health Insurance. And I think people should also realize that access and has to do with the supply of services and the ability to get to the services as well as the ability to pay for them.

HOST: Our thanks to Amy Bernstein for joining us on today’s StatCast. This has been a production of the CDC National Center for Health Statistics.


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