The Affordable Care Act's increased coverage has done little to affect racial and socioeconomic gaps in healthcare access, according to a new report from the Alliance for a Just Society.
Researchers analyzed 1,200 low-income patients in 10 states, nine of which had an uninsured population above the national average of 17.3 percent. Only four of the states--California, Michigan, Oregon and New Mexico--expanded the Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.
The analysis found numerous practical issues that hinder care access, particularly along racial lines, despite recent reports that found hospitals have made progress on racial disparities. For example, consumers need an email address to enroll online, but only 1 in 3 Latino respondents and less than half of black respondents had an email address. Only 47.7 percent of black respondents, 40.5 percent of Native American respondents and 41.6 percent of Latino respondents reported having access to the Internet at home, compared to 77.5 percent of white respondents.
Despite significant outreach efforts to Latinos, who have the highest uninsured rate of any ethnic group, the report found fewer than half of Latino and black respondents knew which services were included in their coverage. A quarter of Latinos said it had been over a year since they saw a physician, compared to 17.9 percent of whites. Eighty-three percent of white respondents said they had a personal physician, compared to 69 percent for black respondents, 67.2 percent for Latinos and 45 percent for Native Americans or Alaska Natives.
Healthcare disparities are particularly pronounced for women of color, according to a 2014 report from the Alliance, with 12 states receiving grades of D or F on delivery, accessibility and combating chronic disease, FierceHealthcare previously reported.
To learn more:
- read the report (.pdf)