The Benefits Of Health Care Reform For Minorities In New Jersey

October 13, 2010 4:56 pm ET

With all the confusion around the passage of the new health care law, many of the benefits have been lost in the mix. Until President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, racial and ethnic minorities were often left out in the cold when it came to accessing affordable, effective, and high quality health care. The Affordable Care Act narrows the disparities in the health care system for minority groups by guaranteeing access to health services.

What Minorities In New Jersey Stand To Gain With The New Health Care Reform Law...

...Better Disease Prevention

 The Affordable Care Act Will Expand Preventive Care For Minorities. According to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation: "People of color experience higher rates of many chronic conditions, as well as higher death rates from many of these conditions compared to whites, and the costs associated with these diseases are high. The health reform law contains provisions to improve the overall health of the population through improved access to proven preventive services, including the establishment of a national prevention trust fund. The law also calls on the Secretary of Health to develop the first ever national prevention strategy." [Kaiser Family Foundation, September 2010]

  • Minorities In New Jersey Have Some Of The Highest Rates Of Preventable Diseases. Minorities, especially African-Americans, in New Jersey have the some of the highest incidences of preventable diseases and resulting deaths.

Rates Of Preventable Diseases For African-Americans and Hispanics/Latinos Compared To Whites In New Jersey (Per 100,000 Population):

African-American

  • Diabetes: 13.1
  • HIV: 62.1
  • Heart Disease: 189.4
  • Asthma (%Death Rate): 4.3

Hispanic

  • Diabetes: 8.0
  • HIV: 23.0
  • Heart Disease: 93.2
  • Asthma (%Death Rate): 2.1

White

  • Diabetes: 6.9
  • HIV: 4.4
  • Heart Disease: 167.1
  • Asthma (%Death Rate): 1.0

[State of New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, accessed 10/11/10; accessed 10/11/10; accessed 10/11/10; accessed 10/11/10]

The New Health Care Law Delivers Free Comprehensive Disease Prevention Services For All New Jersey Residents. The new health care reform law offers free preventive health services for many common diseases including monitoring cholesterol, blood pressure and obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, hypothyroidism and common sexually transmitted infections (STIs). [U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, August 2010]

The Affordable Care Act Improves The Documentation Of Health Disparities Among Minorities. According to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Affordable Care Act includes "provisions [that] focus on improving data collection on race, ethnicity, primary language, geographic area, and disability." Additionally, "the new law would requires [sic] that, to the extent practical, all federally-funded population surveys to collect enough data to allow for reliable reporting of racial and ethnic subgroups. These provisions would greatly improve the ability to document disparities, especially among some of the smaller populations who are typically either excluded from the reporting of survey findings, or grouped as 'Other.'" [Kaiser Family Foundation, September 2010]

...Increased Access To Medicaid

The Affordable Care Act Will Expand Access To Medicaid. According to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation: "The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes a significant expansion of Medicaid. Under the law, all individuals, regardless of age, sex or parental status, will be eligible for Medicaid if they meet the income threshold. Individuals with incomes below 133% FPL (the current poverty level is $10,830 for an individual and $22,050 for a family of four) will be eligible to receive Medicaid services. Of the 65 million nonelderly individuals with incomes below 133% FPL, over 22 million are uninsured, and nearly 6 in 10 are people of color." [Kaiser Family Foundation, September 2010, citation removed for clarity, parentheses original]

  • 558,300 New Jersey Residents Will Be Eligible For Medicaid In 2014. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2008, 558,300 New Jersey residents lived below 133% of the federal poverty line. In 2014, the law will expand access to 144,400 New Jersey residents who lived between 100-133% below the federal poverty line. [State Health Facts, accessed 10/8/10; Kaiser Family Foundation September 2010
  • 133% Of The Federal Poverty Line Is Less Than $30,000 For A Family Of Four.  According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the FPL (or Federal Poverty Line) for an individual is $10,830 and $22,050 for a family of four.  Therefore, 133% of FPL is $14,404 for an individual and $29,327 for a family of four. [ASPE.hhs.gov, 2009 Poverty Guidelines, accessed 10/12/10]

...Tax Credits For Small Businesses

141,139 Minority-Owned Small Businesses In New Jersey Could Benefit From Health Care Tax Credits.  According to the latest data from the Small Business Administration there are approximately 141,139 small businesses owned by minorities in New Jersey, most of which are eligible for premium health care tax credits in 2010. [Small Business Administration, October 2009]

What Happens To Minorities Without Health Care Reform...

...Racial & Ethnic Minorities Will Go Without Health Coverage

Racial And Ethnic Minorities In New Jersey Would Continue To Be Less Likely To Have Coverage Than Whites. According to Families USA: "People of racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to go without health insurance than whites. In New Jersey, 58.1 percent of Hispanics/Latinos, 39.1 percent of African Americans, and 28.3 percent of 'other' ethnic minorities were uninsured, compared to 22.7 percent of whites." [Families USA, March 2009]

...Women Will Continue To Have Poor Access To Care

Access And Utilization Disparities Exist Within New Jersey's Health Care System For Minority Women. The Kaiser Family Foundation calculates disparities in areas, such as health, by using a disparity score (the higher the score the greater the disparity).  They further explain that "The disparity score is the factor by which minority women in a state would need to change in order to achieve parity with the average non-Hispanic White woman in the state... a score greater than 1.00 indicates that minority women experience health problems, barriers or socioeconomic disadvantages at rates higher than White women." New Jersey's highest disparities include: no health insurance (3.08), late initiation of or no prenatal care (2.71), and no personal doctor/health care provider (2.14). [Kaiser Family Foundation, June 2009]

  • Access And Utilization Of New Jersey's Health Care System Is Average For Minority Women. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, New Jersey is one of 12 states whose dimension score for access and utilization of the health care system (the average of all disparity scores in that dimension) is average:

[Kaiser Family Foundation, June 2009

...African Americans Will Keep Paying Outrageous Out-Of-Pocket Prices

African Americans Spend More Than $2 Billion A Year In Out-Of-Pocket Expenses For Health Coverage.  According to a report by the Urban Institute: "[C]onsidering payments made to providers directly by individuals, we estimate that excess disease prevalence among African Americans results in more than $2 billion per year in out-of-pocket costs." [The Urban Institute, September 2009]

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