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.
The Cadillac Tax is a classic “policy zombie,” retaining support despite a transformed environment. In today’s world, policymakers should incentivize employers to strengthen rather than cut their support for workers’ and dependents’ health insurance.
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.
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.
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.
Disparities among communities of color persist in our nation. People of color are more likely than whites to lack health insurance, to receive lower-quality care, and to experience worse health outcomes.
The Health Equity and Accountability Act: Improving Collection of Racial and Ethnic Data to Reduce Health Disparities
Racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to suffer from disparities in health status and their access to quality health care. Health advocates have long argued that one key prerequisite to lessening these disparities (achieving health equity) is to quantify the problem through better data collection and analysis across the health care field. The Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA), which sets out a comprehensive and ambitious strategy to tackle health disparities, would also make big improvements to data collection.
Charlie Alfero is the Executive Director of The Southwest Center for Health Innovation and the New Mexico Primary Care Training Consortium and a member of Families USA’s Health Equity Task Force for Delivery and Payment Transformation. We asked him why Health Action 2019: Fighting For America’s Families will be his fourth Health Action Conference.
"Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As African American History Month comes to a close, we reflect on Dr. King's words and the progress that has been made on the backs of those who came before us.
Efforts to shift to a value-based health care system create an opportunity to improve the quality of care and health outcomes, save money for consumers and the health care system as a whole, and drive reductions in health disparities. But such positive outcomes from payment and delivery reform efforts are not guaranteed. There are some elements of this proposed rule that can help reduce health disparities, but a real commitment to health equity requires additional steps from CMS.