Just in case you missed it, here’s some of the latest health disparities news, posts and reports from this past week.
The Upshot: Signs of a Decline in Financial Distress Connected to Medical Bills – “After rising for a decade, the number of Americans experiencing financial distress from their medical bills has started to decline, a new survey has found. The result provides new evidence that the Affordable Care Act, by providing uninsured people with health insurance, is also improving their financial security, a major goal of the law. The large telephone survey, from the New York-based health research group the Commonwealth Fund, has been asking people about their medical bills every few years for a decade. In each survey through 2012, a higher percentage of Americans said they struggled to pay their medical bills, were paying off medical debt or had been contacted by a collection agency. The most recent installment of the survey, the first since the health law’s major provisions kicked in, shows a reversal in that trend.” >> Read more
NBC News: Report Exposes Health Coverage Gap Across Asian-American Seniors – “A new AARP report finds that among all Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) 50 years and older, up to 20 percent lack health insurance due to cost concerns. But the organization says because of the diversity within the community, coverage rates vary widely across ethnicities. Among Japanese Americans, for example, 96 percent have coverage; Filipinos are at 90 percent. But among Korean Americans, up to 75 percent do not have coverage.” >> Read more
Washington Times: HHS makes last-minute Obamacare pitch to Hispanics – “The administration urged Latinos Wednesday to beat the clock and get covered on Obamacare’s exchanges within the next 30 days, citing health disparities among the fast-growing constituency and fixes to its Spanish-language website after a rocky first year. Health officials and their nonprofit allies hope the full-court press will overshadow fears within the community, even among legal-resident Latinos, that by signing up they will put illegal-immigrant family members at risk of deportation.” >> Read more
The New York Times: The Upshot: How Medicaid for Children Has the Potential to Partly Pay for Itself – “When advocates talk about the advantages of government health care, they often talk about a moral obligation to ensure equal access. Or they describe the immediate health and economic rewards of giving people a way to pay for their care. Now a novel study presents another argument for the medical safety net, at least for children: Giving them health coverage may boost their future earnings for decades. And the taxes they pay on those higher incomes may help pay the government back for some of its investment. The study used newly available tax records measured over decades to examine the effects of providing Medicaid insurance to children. Instead of looking at the program’s immediate impact on those children and their families, it followed them once they became adults and began paying federal taxes.” >> Read more
CTPost.com: More frequent dental care linked to Medicaid change – “About 72 percent of Connecticut children on Medicaid saw a dentist in 2012 — one of the highest rates in the country and nearly a 30 percent increase from six years earlier. That’s according to a study from the University of Connecticut Health Center, which showed how an increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates to dentists in 2008 affected how many children in the state receiving assistance sought oral health care. The study’s numbers show huge progress, said Patricia Baker, president and CEO of the Connecticut Health Foundation, which works to give low-income residents and people of color better access to care. The foundation funded the UConn study, Baker said, and has long sought to get regular dental care for low-income children.” >> Read more
Latin Post: US Uninsured Rate by Year: Many Latino Adults Still Uninsured As Overall Uninsured Rate Falls to New Lows in Gallup Data – “The rate of uninsured U.S. adults continued to decline since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also referred to as Obamacare. However, according to the newest data, many Latinos in the U.S. continue to be uninsured. Based on Gallup polling data, the fourth quarter of 2014 saw an average of 12.9 percent of American adults uninsured, which is a decline from 13.4 percent from the third quarter during the same year. Since the ACA went in effect in 2013, the uninsured rate fell by 4.2 percent, specifically from 17.1 percent during the fourth quarter of 2013.” >> Read more