The health care access gap between uninsured U.S. residents and insured U.S. residents is narrowing.

Researchers at the Center for Studying Health System Change, Washington, have published that finding in a summary of results from a 2007 survey of 18,000 U.S. residents.

In 2007, about 18% of the uninsured people surveyed said they had gone without needed medical care in the past 12 months, compared with 6.3% of the survey participants with health insurance, according to researchers at the center, which uses the acronym HSC.

But, because insured people reported more deterioration in their ability to get needed care, the ratio of insured people with access problems to uninsured people reporting access problems increased to 0.36 to 1, from 0.29 to 1, the HSC researchers estimate.

The number of insured people complaining about unmet health needs increased 62% between 2003 and 2007, while the number of uninsured people making that complaint increased 33%, the researchers report.

Compared with other groups surveyed, insured people in poor or fair health reported the most rapid deterioration in ability to get medical care, the researchers say.

About 14% of the insured people in poor or fair health said they had problems getting care in 2007, up from 9% in 2003.

About 39% of insured people participating in the survey said they had gone without care or delayed getting care because of problems with getting their health plan to pay for treatment or providers’ refusal to accept their insurance.