The Affordable Care Act includes provisions aimed at addressing health disparities among minority populations.
But despite expanded access to care and health insurance coverage, the law won’t eliminate health disparities, according to an analysis by experts at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Disparities exist independent of cost and marketplace issues, Dr. Marshall Chin, the Richard Parrillo Family Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago. He says, “We know that oftentimes people who have Medicaid insurance go to under-resourced facilities. While we have to keep our foot on the pedal to make sure they get access to care, we have to spend more time as a nation thinking about how to tailor care so that everyone receives the best quality care.”
Beginning in January, 2014, everyone living at or below 133% poverty will be eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Of the 24 million people who will pick up health insurance under the law, almost half are minorities.
The law also prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Members of ethnic minority groups are more likely than whites to have pre-existing conditions and thus will benefit the most from this aspect of the law.
The law also authorizes data collection to examine how healthcare resources are used according to race, ethnicity, language, gender and disability status in order to identify where disparities persist. Under the ACA, grants will be issued to increase the number of minority workers in health-care occupations. The law also provides $11 billion in funding for community health centers—places that will primarily serve minority groups. We hope that these new changes do make a difference in our countrys health care problems. Do you feel that there will be positive changes or not?