Eliminating disparities and expanding affordable access to communities of color
Americans from racial and ethnic minorities will gain much from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by improving their health coverage and access to health services. African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans and Native Americans make up more than half of America's uninsured.
Communities of color have higher rates of infant mortality, disease and disability than the general population and are less likely to receive the preventive screenings, regular care and necessary medications that could prevent chronic conditions.
The health law helps deliver better, more affordable care to communities of color by:
- Nearly doubling the number of patients served by community health centers - which are central to providing care in many African American communities. The law provides $11 billion in funding for these centers.
- Reducing discrimination in the health insurance market based upon medical history, including race, ethnicity and gender
- Investing in research into the root causes of health disparities, focuses on cultural competency training for health care providers, and provides scholarships and grants to increase diversity in the healthcare workforce.
- Funding new programs to prevent and control chronic disease, including incentives to provide medical homes and chronic disease management initiatives.
Benefits of the law that will help reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health care include:
- Expanding coverage to 32 million people who currently have no health insurance, and providing financial assistance to help those with lower incomes purchase coverage.
- Improving access to primary care to ensure a regular source of care and care coordination.
- Focusing on disease prevention.
- Improving the cultural competency of the health care workforce.
- Collecting data to better measure the effectiveness of these initiatives.
- Creating a new office of Minority Health within the Department of Health and Human Services focused on addressing the factors underlying healthcare disparities within communities.