Health Reform Addresses Health Disparities

In addition to the consumer protections that help everyone, the Affordable Care Act also contains specific provisions designed to address the disparities in our health care system. The Act has increased data collection provisions designed to catch and address disparities for underserved communities including communities of color, ethnic minorities, limited-English proficient communities, the LGBT community, and persons with disabilities. Several of the provisions of the Act provide for increased cultural competency training for health care providers, increased language services, and improved access to medical exam equipment for persons with disabilities. Additionally, the Act increases funding for community health centers in underserved communities.

These provisions, along with the elimination of insurance discrimination against persons with pre-existing conditions such as cancer as of January 1, 2014, should help improve access to needed care for everyone. Information on the Affordable Care Act’s provisions regarding health disparities can be found on the following fact sheets available at http://www.healthcare.gov:

Health Disparities and the Affordable Care Act
http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2010/07/health-disparities.html

Improving Data Collection to Reduce Health Disparities
http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2011/06/disparities06292011a.html

The Affordable Care Act for Americans with Disabilities
http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2010/11/affordable-care-act-americans-disabilities.html

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