As provisions in the Affordable Care Act are implemented nationwide a 2007 Massachusetts health reform law has shown to improve access to care and health outcomes across racial and ethnic groups, according to research at the American Public Health Association’s 141st Annual Meeting in Boston.
According to researchers, all groups have improved health outcomes since the law’s passage but trends indicate persistence in disparities between white residents and other racial and ethnic groups.
“The Affordable Care Act is being implemented around the country and there is a lot of interest in what it will mean for the health of the nation’s residents,” said John Auerbach, MBA, Annual Meeting presenter. “We have learned that there is reason to believe that it will improve access to care and improve health outcomes for all of the racial and ethnic populations who are eligible for its benefits.”
The study found that the percentage of uninsured black residents dropped from 8 percent to 4 between 2007 and 2012. Uninsured rates dropped from 10 percent to 7 for Latino residents and from 7 percent to 2 for the state’s overall population.
Massachusetts also increased its number of flu vaccinations, cancer screenings and chronic disease prevention efforts during the study’s tenure. However, data also found disparities between white residents and other populations in disease prevalence and causes of death.
“Many illnesses and deaths are the result of conditions and behaviors beyond the control of the health care system, such as poverty and racism. However, over time we may see additional improvements in health and gap reduction as a result of access to care,” Auerbach said.
The findings were presented at APHA’s 141st Annual Meeting as a part of the session, “Confronting Health Disparities While Reforming Health Care: the Massachusetts Experience.”