Uncompensated care pools have been used by several states in their attempt to aid hospitals and increase the volume of care provided to patients without health insurance. We examined the uncompensated care pool used in New York State between 1983 and 1987. Our primary interest was to estimate the impact of the pools on the level and type of care provided to uninsured patients. Our results indicate that hospitals responded to the pools by increasing the volume of care provided to uninsured patients. Without the pools, over 30,000 fewer adjusted hospital admissions would have been provided to the uninsured in a typical year. Many of these newly purchased admissions were for “nondiscretionary” medical care, suggesting that beneficial care to the indigent was rationed prior to the introduction of the uncompensated care pools.

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