April is National Minority Health Month and this year’s theme, accelerating health equity, reminds us that the quickening pace of change in the health arena provides strategic opportunities to narrow the disparities gaps between people of color and our white friends and neighbors. This month we celebrate the huge coverage gains among immigrants, several state initiatives to remove barriers to immigrant coverage, and Georgia’s big step toward making health insurance provider directories accurate and useful.
A new report released last week confirms the findings that enrollment experts emphasized on our teleconference with reporters last Wednesday: We still have a ways to go in getting “hard-to-reach” populations enrolled in health coverage.
In horse racing, it is not a good idea to change jockeys when you have a winner. That is why Governor–elect Matt Bevin should not rush into a decision on Kentucky’s winning approach to health coverage. It is not just the economic case that the new governor should consider. Bevin must grapple with the impact an upheaval in the health care system would have on the state’s low-income workers and their families.
The next big debate over the Affordable Care Act is looming. States are already planning for changes they'd like to make to the ACA using the new 1332 state innovation waivers. Beginning in 2017, the ACA permits states to apply for waivers to begin experimenting with strategies to provide residents with access to high-quality, affordable health insurance. But whether these new strategies will be helpful or harmful is still anyone’s guess.