Center for American Progress

Implementation of ACA Can Help Racial and Ethnic Minorities
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Implementation of ACA Can Help Racial and Ethnic Minorities

All Americans, regardless of race or ethnicity, should get the quality health care services they need when they need them.

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Chronically ill Americans from racial and ethnic minorities have much to gain from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. These Americans are more likely to be without health insurance coverage—they make up more than half of America’s uninsured—and they suffer higher rates of chronic illness than the general population. They are more likely to have the risk factors such as obesity that predispose them to chronic illnesses, and are less likely to receive the preventive screenings, regular care, and necessary medications that could prevent or ameliorate their chronic conditions.

Being uninsured often means postponing needed health care services. That’s why people of color in our nation are diagnosed at more advanced disease stages, and once diagnosed, they receive poorer care. Nearly half (46 percent) of nonelderly black adults and more than a third (35 percent) of nonelderly Hispanic adults who do not have insurance report having one or more chronic health conditions. Many more of these Americans do not have a usual source for health care, have substantially higher unmet health needs than their insured counterparts, and have high out-of-pocket costs.

Inevitably, they are sicker and die sooner.

"Easing the Burden," a new report from Dr. Lesley Russell, a Visiting Fellow at the Center for American Progress, focuses primarily on how implementation of provisions in the new health care reform law can help those who benefit the least from our current health system by addressing disparities in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of chronic illnesses, thus easing the additional health care burdens borne by racial and ethnic minorities with chronic conditions.

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