Equal Healthcare for Minorities

This April, National Minority Health Month is supported by the Office of Minority Health and other agencies to raise awareness about health disparities that continue to affect racial and ethnic minorities.  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's groundbreaking policies are aimed to reduce these disparities and achieve health equity.

health disparities defined The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines health disparities as differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and burden of diseases and other adverse health conditions that exist among specific population groups. 

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act also created the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities(NIMHD) at NIH.  The NIMHD will control all aspects of the NIH in regards to these minority health issues.  The main goal is to bring attention to and find solutions for the unequal burden of illness affecting minority, rural and poor populations in this country.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services(HHS) drew on the same legislation when developing its Disparities Action Plan.  The HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities outlines goals and actions HHS will take to reduce health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities that include current common healthcare improvement strategies of evidence-based programs, integrated approaches and best practices.

 racial and ethnic group The HHS Disparities Action Plan is designed around race and ethnicity, but those are not the only American populations effected by health disparity.   Geographical location and poverty have long been associated with reduced healthcare equity.  Religion, gender, age mental health, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity can all provide obstacles to appropriate healthcare.

 

Even though causes of health disparities can vary as widely as the diversity of the population, one issue consistently shows to be a key indicator in the quality of health care received by minority populations:  insurance coverage.  Statistics have shown that racial and ethnic minorities are significantly less likely than the rest of the population to have health insurance.  (See table below)

 

This article highlights how the ACA will facilitate access to insurance:   http://www.iridiumsuite.com/mbs-blog/new-healthcare-law-2014-will-benefit-consumers-and-providers

 

As we have seen numerous public agencies have all joined together to affect change in the area of health disparities.  Each of them plays a significant role in achieving the goals of the Healthy People 2020 initiative.  Additional information can be found on the main CDC Minority Health website.

 

 

2010 United States Census has published the following insurance coverage statistics:

Race/Ethnic Group

% of Population with No Insurance

African-Americans

20.8

American Indians/Alaska Natives

29.2

Asian-Americans

18

Hispanics

30.7

Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders

17.4

Non-Hispanic Whites

11.7