Last week the Commonwealth Fund released a report looking at whether the Affordable Care Act had succeeded in reducing the healthcare disparities between Black and Hispanic populations and whites. The conclusion: The ACA has made definite progress in narrowing the gap, particularly in those states that expanded Medicaid. However, disparities remain and Blacks and Hispanics still experience more barriers to care than whites. There is continued work to be done to ensure these gains aren’t lost and to further improve access for minority populations.
The full report, “Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Access to Care: Has the Affordable Care Act Made a Difference?” is available here. It’s definitely worth reading for the details. Here are some highlights:
- The report looked at three key indicators of access to healthcare:
- the percentage of uninsured working-age adults;
- the percentage who skipped care because of costs; and
- the percentage who lacked a usual care provider.
- Typically, a decrease in the rate of uninsured adults is thought to lead to a decrease in the other two indicators.
- Whites still have lower rates on all three of these indicators, meaning they have greater access to care than minority populations). However:
- Between 2013 and 2015, disparities with whites narrowed on all three indicators for both Blacks and Hispanics.
- Disparities narrowed the most in states that had expanded Medicaid. Even in non-expansion states, there were improvements.
- Hispanics experience the most significant barriers to access. However, although the disparity with whites remains large, Hispanics benefited significantly from Medicaid expansion.
- Whites also saw improvements in the three indicators. However, the gains experienced by Blacks and Hispanics were proportionally larger relative to the size of their populations.
In the meantime, if you missed Part 1: The Senate, you can read it here.
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