Blacks Falling Behind Under ObamaCare

Sarah Ferris, The Hill, December 16, 2014

African-Americans are less likely to see benefits under ObamaCare compared to other racial groups, according to research released Tuesday.

While Hispanics, American Indians and Alaska natives have seen “dramatic” increases in healthcare coverage over the last year, obtaining coverage has been tougher for black Americans, largely because they disproportionately live in states that have not expanded Medicaid, according to an extensive 65-page report by The Urban Institute, a nonprofit research group.

Most of the states that have not adopted a central ObamaCare provision that helps low-income people qualify for Medicaid have Republican legislatures or governors.

More than half of all black individuals and families live in the 21 states that have not expanded Medicaid eligibility, according to the report. As a result, about 1.4 million black individuals are stuck in an eligibility gap where they make too little to purchase coverage but too much to qualify for Medicaid.

The report projects that white Americans will see the biggest gains under ObamaCare, with the population’s uninsured rate falling by nearly 52 percent.

Among minority groups, Hispanics stand to benefit the most, though the population continues to have the highest uninsured rate, at about one-fifth. A total of 6.6 million Hispanics gained coverage, a jump that is expected to drop the group’s uninsured rate by about 40 percent by 2016.

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Out of the 10 states with the largest Hispanic populations, three states–Texas, Florida and Georgia–have not expanded Medicaid.

That compares to the 10 states with the largest black populations, of which only Maryland and Delaware have expanded Medicaid, according to a separate analysis by The Hill.

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If all states expanded Medicaid, the percent of black Americans without insurance would drop to 7 percent, compared to its current rate of about 11 percent.

Still, The Urban Institute says its findings show proof that ObamaCare is helping a majority of Americans.

“Even with current Medicaid expansion decisions, the ACA [Affordable Care Act] is projected to shrink many of the long-standing racial/ethnic differences in health insurance coverage,” the report states.

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