Racial gaps in access to health care narrowed after the Affordable Care Act took effect, a new study reports (Source: “Obamacare Curbed Racial and Ethnic Coverage Gaps, but Progress Has Slowed,” U.S. News, Jan. 16, 2020).
These gaps in health insurance coverage have fallen across the country since 2014, especially in states that expanded eligibility for Medicaid, according to Commonwealth Fund analysis.
From 2013 to 2018, the black-white gap in insurance coverage dropped from 8.4 to 3.7 percentage points in Medicaid expansion states, while the Hispanic-white gap fell from 23.2 to 12.7 percentage points. Gains were so significant that the uninsured rate among blacks in expansion states in 2018 – 10.1% – was lower than the 12.3% rate among whites in non-expansion states, the report says.
The Affordable Care Act also led to a decline in cost-related barriers to care, the report found. In 2013, about 23% of black adults and 28% of Hispanic adults said they didn't get the health care they needed due to the cost. In 2018, those shares had fallen to 17.6% among black adults and 21.2% among Hispanic adults, though each share remained significantly higher than the 12.9% of white adults who skipped care because of costs.