The Affordable Care Act (ACA), a.k.a. health care reform, which is currently under Supreme Court review, markedly improves health care for Latinos, according to a statement from the Center for American Progress.
Of all ethnic groups in the United States, Latinos are the most likely to be uninsured. As a result of the ACA, more than 9 million Latinos have gained access to health care. This includes over 700,000 Latinos younger than 26, as the ACA allows young people in that age range to stay on their parents’ insurance plans. In addition, now that the ACA stops insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, 6.1 million Latinos with pre-existing conditions are able to access health care.
The ACA has also reduced a wide range of medical costs—and Latinos spend more on out-of-pocket medical expenses than any other ethnic group. These savings include free preventative services—which more than 500,000 Latinos have taken advantage of so far—as well as lower Medicare Advantage premiums and prescription drug costs, reduced co-pays, and an expansion of Medicaid eligibility to those who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
Other reforms of interest to the Latino community include increased access to birth control pills—which are also used to treat conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome, which affects 13 percent of Latinas with diabetes—and government investment in community health centers whose services target medically underserved neighborhoods such as those in which many Latinos live.
Lastly, the ACA has established the Office of Minority Health. This division of the Department of Health and Human Services exists solely to identify and alleviate health disparities between ethnic groups, improving health care for Latinos and other minorities.
To read the Center for American Progress statement, click here.