Health reform and communities of color

Affordable Care Act Delivers Better Preventive Care to Communities of Color
By Dr. L. Toni Lewis

Original source:

SEIU is embracing a new report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) showing that more than 5 million Americans with traditional Medicare took advantage of preventive benefits now available through the Affordable Care Act.

SmilingSeniors.jpgThe news that more and more Americans are receiving preventive health care thanks to the Affordable Care Act is particularly significant for people of color.

At a time when the unemployment rate for Africans Americans is more than double the national average, many African Americans face a greater risk than ever of falling behind. And, prior to the Affordable Care Act, more than 19 million African Americans were uninsured.

Preventive care is a critical factor in addressing health disparities. However, because racial and ethnic minorities are often less likely to receive preventive care than the rest of the population, this fact has actually resulted in higher mortality rates for people of color. African Americans seniors on Medicare are less likely to get vital preventive services, such as cancer screenings.

CMS's new report that the Affordable Care Act is increasing preventive care for Medicare recipients is not just good news for people of color for strictly health-related reasons -- it also has positive economic ramifications. Preventive care, or the lack thereof, greatly contributes to rising health care costs. Clearly, there is a correlation between promoting and preserving the Affordable Care Act and helping to improve health outcomes, while also decreasing healthcare costs.

To learn more, download the CMS report (PDF) here.

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