Healthcare Insurance and Disparities in the US

Previous researches have brought up a number of important aspects of healthcare, but I am particularly interested in the idea that the “access to health care services in the United States is misleading.” I think that this problem of insurance is one of the most significant. For example, if you consult the US Census Bureau (2016) data, you will discover that the average insurance rates (across all ages and ethnicities) have been growing with an especially large increase taking place in 2014.

However, the same data demonstrates that while the coverage of the non-white people has been increasing, the percentage of uninsured Hispanic men was almost twice as large as that of uninsured white men in 2014. In other words, while the number of uninsured reduces, the problems of healthcare disparities remain acute. The aim of the Affordable Care Act consists of eliminating these disparities (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2012), and one of the Healthy People 2020 overarching goals is identical (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2010). However, the problem of healthcare being prohibitively costly for those who need it the most remains acute.

On the other hand, it cannot be denied that changes are happening. For example, the US Census Bureau (2016) tables show that the percentage of black insured people is greater by only one percent when compared to white people.

Also, as the percentage of uninsured decreases, the decrease is disproportionate: groups that have apparently been at a disadvantage get coverage at a higher rate than those who have been better insured. For instance, 26.7% of Hispanic males were uninsured in 2013; in 2014, the figure changed to 21.7%. For white males, the change was 2.8%, from 13.8% to 11%. The gap is still drastic, and the results are still ambiguous, but it is apparent that the Affordable Care Act has a great potential.

In general, given the fact that health disparities are not tied to ethnicity only, it is plausible that a complete and not misleading picture is relatively difficult to observe; we can only get some insights from the statistics and personal practice. Unfortunately, various aspects of the access to healthcare remain misleading for the time being.

References

Kaiser Family Foundation. (2012). Disparities in health and health care: Five key questions and answers. Web.

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2010). Healthy People 2020. Web.

US Census Bureau. (2016). Health insurance historical tables – HIC Series. Web.