The implementation of the Affordable Care Act improved health care access and utilization among Latinos, a new study found, although some persistent disparities do remain years after implementation.
The authors of the study, published in the Journal of American Board of Family Medicine, released amidst serious discussions in Congress on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare), believe an effective way to combat remaining disparities is to expand the law, especially to those excluded from it — such as those who recently obtained a green card or undocumented immigrants.
“The uninsured rate has dropped by more than half for Latinos,” said study senior author Dr. Alex Ortega, professor and chair of health management and policy in Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health. “We should continue to improve communication and outreach regarding the benefits of the legislation and improve messaging to groups that are hard to reach or enroll. The government should not be changing the ACA right when people are using it and enrolling.”
Progress was not universal, however, across the categories the study looked into rates of those insured, delay in seeking necessary care, forgoing necessary care, emergency department use and physician visits. Some Latino heritage groups displayed important gains in some categories but lagged behind others in other categories.