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One-Fifth of U.S. Adults Lack Usual Health Care Source

Nearly 75 percent of those without regular provider say they don't want one

WEDNESDAY, July 26 (HealthDay News) -- Twenty percent of American adults lacked a regular source of health care in 2000, and nearly three-quarters of these said they did not want one, researchers report in the July/August issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Anthony J. Viera, M.D., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues investigated information about a nationally representative sample of 9,011 adults.

The researchers found that one-fifth of the adults (20 percent) had no usual health care source in 2000. Uninsured adults were 3.2 times more likely to lack a usual health care provider than the insured. Men and those in top health were twice as likely to lack a usual source of care. Adults younger than 30 were more than four times more likely, and Hispanics 1.5 times more likely, to lack such care.

Seventy-two percent of adults with no regular health care source indicated they didn't want one. But for those who did prefer to have a usual health care provider, lack of health insurance was the principal reason that they didn't.

"Most adults who lack a usual source of care do so for reasons of preference," the authors write. "Helping these persons have a usual source of care will likely require different interventions than needed to help those who want a usual source of care but cannot get one."

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