The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and I have a few things in common:
1) We were both born on March 23rd
2) We believe everyone should have access to quality and affordable health care
3) Data suggests that 57% of Americans don’t understand us
Three years ago today the landmark legislation was signed by President Obama into law, and the ACA brings new hope to achieving health equity.
How does the law help achieve health equity?
The law provides funding and a road map to help address health disparities, and here’s a quick list of how:
Medicaid Expansion: Extends Medicaid coverage to individuals earning up to 133% of the Federal Poverty Level ($14,856 a year in 2012).
Healthcare Exchanges: By 2014 states are required to have an operational health exchange that allows individuals, families and employers to buy health coverage. (In Connecticut it’s called ACCESS HEALTH CT)
Supports Safety Nets: Expands the capacity of existing community health centers (two-thirds of CHCs patients are people of color).
Prevention: Provides funding for prevention programs, and supports community health workers to promote positive health behaviors.
Data Collection: Requires all federally funded health programs and population surveys to collect data on race, ethnicity and language.
Diverse Workforce Development: Includes strategies to help people of color into health care provider and leadership roles, and also investing in historically minority colleges, and providing scholarships and loan forgiveness for primary care providers.
Did I miss anything? You can find more information in this recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Today, as we celebrate the ACA’s third birthday, please also get informed about how this health law will affect you.