Anyone concerned with advancing health access and quality for all knows there's a lot at stake in November. Between the start of open enrollment in the marketplaces and the elections—when our nation chooses key decision makers at the national, state, and local levels—next month is a critical turning point in the fight for health care justice.
Welcome to the new Health Equity Highlights monthly blog! Our Health Equity Connection newsletter has been promoted: Every month, you will now be able to find the latest health equity updates, top resources from Families USA and our partners, and important upcoming events here.
Read on to learn about new marketplace enrollment data, progress in covering immigrant children, upcoming health equity events, and more.
Several important health equity victories coincided with Hispanic Heritage Month.
We got news that the Latino uninsured rate is lower than ever, there is more progress in immigrant access to health care in California and Illinois, and the federal government saved Ohio’s Medicaid program from harsh restrictions that would have cut access to health care for tens of thousands of people.
Click here for our monthly roundup of top new health equity resources, event, and jobs.
As drug prices continue to rise at an unsustainable rate, we must ensure that our health care system and its financial incentives enhance the quality and value of care. We believe the Medicare Part B prescription drug model proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) creates value for the patient and the program by encouraging treatment choices that have been shown to improve care and health outcomes.
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.
Black History Month inspires us to celebrate the rich history, achievements, and contributions of African Americans in our nation, as well as the hard work that remains to dismantle racism and achieve true racial equality. We agree with Dr. King that fighting injustice in health care is an urgent civil rights issue central to achieving our shared dream of peace, prosperity, and equality for our children. But it is clear that a focus on health care alone will not achieve health equity for African Americans.
Things have been pretty busy in the health equity world since last month’s blog. In addition to celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we received news that uninsured rates are the lowest ever (woo-hoo!), Medi-Cal coverage for undocumented children in California became a reality, the long-awaited health anti-discrimination rule was published, as was the rule on Medicaid managed care.
Across the country, there is tremendous momentum to change how health care is delivered and paid for in order to improve quality and to curb costs. These initiatives to transform the health system have the potential to improve care for everyone, and could directly address health disparities. Advocates must actively engage in these reform efforts—both to protect communities of color from harm and to take maximum advantage of opportunities to transform health care delivery to better serve people of color.
We all want value for the dollar when we make a big purchase. Especially when we buy something expensive, we want to know that we're getting a high-quality product that makes a hit to the bank account worth it. When it comes to health insurance, it can be hard to know if you're getting a good deal. Health plans can come with pages of fine print and endless caveats.
Health advocates share the hope that the Affordable Care Act will reduce the racial and ethnic health disparities that remain realities in today’s health care system. These disparities transcend age, gender, and ailment.