For some time, the gap between the haves and have-nots of health care coverage grew smaller, but in the past 12 years, the disparity has continued to grow, according to a new study. (Photo: iStock)

For nearly half a century, the gap between health care services available to the rich and the poor in the United States narrowed, largely because of enormous investment by taxpayers in public health programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

But a new study shows that that trend reversed in 2004 because of the rising cost of health care and cuts to public health programs.

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