This article was published by the Center for American Progress.
In the year since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, it has already had a positive impact on millions of Americans, many of them Latinos. The new health law takes important steps to help alleviate the gap in health disparities among different racial and ethnic groups, and enhances protections for consumers, which is particularly important for many low-income people of color. The notable provisions include:
- Ending the abusive insurance company practice of refusing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions
- Offering up new coverage options for young people
- Allowing small businesses to provide care for their employees
Why are these three benefits so important to Hispanics and African Americans in the United States? Because they suffer disproportionately from chronic diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Take diabetes. Hispanics are 50 percent more likely to die from diabetes than non-Hispanic whites. Almost 15 percent of African Americans and 14 percent of Hispanics suffer from diabetes compared to 8 percent of whites. Health insurers considered having these conditions a basis for denying or dropping coverage, a practice abolished by the new law.