ACA linked to reduced racial disparities, earlier diagnosis and treatment in cancer care
 
That’s the headline from last Sunday’s edition of The Washington Post. The article looks at new research on the Affordable Care Act’s effect on health.
 
The verdict: The ACA is having a positive impact on the health of individuals and communities. It has increased access, reduced disparities and improved equity of care among cancer patients, and it is helping providers identify ovarian cancer earlier so patients can start treatment sooner.
 
From the article: “Health policy experts who were not involved in the studies said the findings are consistent with previous data showing that the ACA is associated with improved access to health insurance and medical care.”
 
Even with all the wrenches that have been thrown at it – efforts to repeal and replace, cuts to enrollment support and challenges in court, among others – the ACA has improved access to care, especially among those who needed it most.
 
This is good news … and it’s why America’s hospitals and health systems support building upon the ACA and strengthening the existing public-private coverage framework. By making changes to strengthen the system we have, we’ll see even more good news.
 
For example: We need to stabilize the insurance exchanges by restoring re-insurance protections, and we need to expand subsidies to more middle-income people who continue to struggle to afford coverage. The administration needs to adequately fund enrollment efforts so people know when, where and how they can sign up for health coverage. And, of course, we need to expand Medicaid in all states – and the government needs to provide 100% of the federal matching rate for the first three years – to help the remaining states achieve this.
 
In addition, while we’ve made progress in addressing racial disparities in health care, much more needs to be done. That’s why the AHA provides tools for members to drive equity. It’s also why our Institute for Diversity and Health Equity partners with groups like the National Urban League and UnidosUS to advance diversity and health equity in health care leadership and help leaders better understand the changing needs of their patients and communities. Visit www.diversityconnection.org to learn more about how you can improve diversity and health equity in your hospital or health system.
 
The AHA has always supported common-sense policies to improve care and coverage. Instead of dismantling our current system – as some have suggested – we need to build upon its strengths.
 
By doing so, we will expand access to care, we’ll improve health outcomes, and we’ll advance health in America.
 
 

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