Hispanic Community Instrumental to Future Success of Affordable Care Act
|Change continues to sweep the nation, as nearly 9 out every 10 adult Americans now say they have health insurance, according to an extensive survey whose findings were recently made public. In 2013, only slightly more than 8 out of 10 adult Americans had coverage.
Whether the figures released from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index serve as a high watermark for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), or a milestone toward his goal of insuring nearly all U.S. residents, remains to be seen. The law mandates that nearly all Americans have coverage, whether it be through their employer, a government program, or by purchasing a plan of their own. Those who remain uninsured face steep fines.
However, while the future of the ACA is still up in the air, one thing is for certain; the Hispanic community experienced the largest gains of any ethnic or racial group under the ACA. Since the end of 2013, the uninsured rate dropped 8.3 points among the Hispanic community, who are still more likely to be uninsured. In November 2013, 77% of Hispanics said they had health insurance. That figure rose to 83% just last month, which lowers the total number of uninsured Hispanics from 20% to 16%.
“At a time when Republicans are very keenly trying to court the Hispanic vote, a large chunk of Hispanics are gaining insurance via the Affordable Care Act,” explained Dan Witters, research director for the poll.
In fact, the Hispanic community is a major determining factor in regards to the ACA’s success. Hispanics make up just under 20% of the entire U.S. population, but accounted for more than 30% of those who were uninsured prior to the passing of the ACA. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the ACA has been instrumental in benefiting Hispanic families by providing affordable, accessible, and quality healthcare.
For example, urgent care centers have been instrumental in bridging the gap between overburdened hospital emergency rooms and primary care physician offices. According to a survey by The Urgent Care Association of America, 57% of patients wait 15 minutes or less to be seen, and about 80% of all visits are 60 minutes or less. For communities and neighborhoods who have limited access to affordable, quality healthcare, urgent care centers have become vital.