Only about 1 in 10 people don’t have health insurance in 2017.
That means far more people are covered with health insurance now than in 2013 before the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, went into effect.
However, the U.S. House of Representatives today approved a healthcare bill that could leave 24 million fewer people insured by 2026 than under Obamacare, CNN reports.
Here’s how the bill would work, according to Salon.com.
In any case, Latinos will likely still face the biggest uphill climb for healthcare coverage.
The State of Latino Healthcare Coverage
Latinos are among several groups to suffer from lack of health insurance with rates far above the national average, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Other groups with less coverage than whites include males, millennials, and those who identify as American Indian / Alaska Native.
About 27% Latinos ages 18-64 were uninsured in 2015, U.S. Census data showed, according to U.S. News & World Report. Only 9% of whites weren’t covered by insurance, whether through Medicaid, exchange plans or employer-sponsored insurance.
A more recent report by Enroll America indicates that Latinos’ coverage dropped from about 26.2% to 15.1% from 2013 to 2016 (see chart at right). The white population’s rates dropped from 14.1% to 6.6% in that same span.
Indeed, Latinos reached historic gains in health insurance coverage for the first time in years, according to a recent study of the impact of Obamacare.
But the same study found that Latinos continued to perform worse on most measures of access to and utilization of their health care than whites. The reasons for these disparities are multifaceted and include citizenship status, language, and socioeconomic status.
What Can We Do to Increase Coverage of Latinos?
Many groups are working hard to connect Latinos to healthcare coverage.
Raising Women’s Voices developed a Spanish guide to help Latinas utilize health insurance resources. The guide, Mi Salud, Mi Voz: Una Guía Paso a Paso Para Mujeres Sobre Cómo Usar el Seguro Médico, explains how to use your insurance card and how to choose a primary care provider who is in your health plan’s network and speaks your language.
In Oregon, health officials embedded in schools to help parents with health issues.
Rocio Muñoz, a health navigator for Benton County Health Department in Oregon, worried that healthcare services were not addressing local Latino health inequities.
She worked with the local school district to embed bilingual, bicultural health navigators into elementary schools in Corvallis, Ore. (7.4% Latino), to address many barriers: language differences; complex and confusing documents and processes; lack of knowledge of available services; unreliable transportation; and fear of using government services.
The partnership resulted in a model where health navigators are placed in schools to coordinate with students, parents and teachers regarding students’ health records in order to boost access to health resources and services available through state Medicaid, as well as other school and community resources.
Navigators now connect families to health insurance, health care services and well child checks, as well as connect students with vision, hearing and dental specialists and other resources.
“We are all here together to help the kids and to make sure that families get what they need,” said Claudia Bouvier, operations assistant at Garfield Elementary School in the Corvallis School District.
In Broward County, Fla. (27% Latino), a popular U.S. entry point for many from Latin Americans and the Caribbean, immigrants are plagued by a lack of healthcare coverage, language barriers, and financial obstacles.
Hispanic Unity of Florida is an immigrant advocacy group that works to reverse these problematic social and health issues.
They work to empower immigrants to become self-sufficient, productive, and civically engaged.
They also connect them with healthcare resources offered through the Affordable Care Act. During each Open Enrollment cycle, Hispanic Unity of Florida holds registration events and offers appointments with trained, bilingual application counselors at their headquarters.