Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Access to Care: Has the Affordable Care Act Made a Difference?

Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Access to Care: Has the Affordable Care Act Made a Difference?

The Affordable Care Act helped narrow racial/ethnic disparities in healthcare access on three key indicators between 2013 and 2015, an issue brief from the Commonwealth Fund finds. According to the brief, Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Access to Care: Has the Affordable Care Act Made a Difference? (14 pages, PDF), the percentage of uninsured working-age adults, the percentage who skipped care because of costs, and the percentage who lacked a regular care provider all fell for African Americans, Latinos, and white Americans, while the gaps between those of color and whites narrowed for each indicator. For example, the uninsured rate fell from 14 percent to 9 percent for whites, from 24 percent to 15 percent for African Americans, and from 40 percent to 28 percent for Latinos, narrowing the gap by 4 percentage points and 7 percentage points, respectively. In addition, average rates were lower for each population on all three indicators and disparities were narrower in states that expanded Medicaid eligibility under the ACA. The brief concludes that while insurance coverage expansion under the ACA has increased healthcare access to white, black, and Latino Americans and helped reduce racial/ethnic disparities in healthcare access, it has not eliminated them.