Unfortunately, health care isn't easy for everyone to get. Many low-income Americans and some racial and ethnic groups face barriers to getting the care they need. Sometimes cultural differences get in the way. Other times, it's language barriers or a lack of education. All these things can play a part.
These groups are also more likely to be uninsured. Without coverage, they can't get the care they need. And as a result, they have more health conditions than other groups of people.
How can we make health care easier to get?
To help make health care easier to get, the new laws focus on:
- Preventive care. It's always best to prevent a health issue before it happens. That's why checkups, many generic drugs, tests and screenings are now covered at 100%.
- Coordinated care. New laws are supporting community care organizations. These organizations are helping minorities and low-income Americans with long-term health issues, like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
- Diversity and cultural knowledge. It's critical for doctors to understand the patients they treat. Health care reform puts a greater emphasis on cultural and language competency.
- Doctors in low-income communities. Health care reform adds funding for doctors in underserved communities. The new funding will support 16,000 new doctors, which means patients don't have to wait as long to get an appointment.
- Insurance discrimination. New laws prevent health insurance companies from denying coverage to people who are sick, or from charging women higher premiums because of their gender. In addition, the government is collecting data to see how certain racial and ethnic groups get their care.
- Low cost health plans. 2014 brings a new era in health care, complete with a new market too. Tax credits and subsidies will be available to qualifying individuals through exchanges. This new marketplace makes sure everyone has the same access to health care, even if you are lower-income, between jobs or sick.
How it impacts you
If you're a lower-income American, or a racial or ethnic minority, these new laws impact you - and hopefully improve your care for years to come.
How do I learn more about health disparities?
To learn more about health disparities in America, or how reform is helping more people get health care, visit healthcare.gov.