Researchers show that insurance coverage disparities remain for Latino youths under Obamacare
New research from the UMD School of Public Health and Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health shows that while the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) increased the number of young people in the United States who had health insurance and had well-child visits to the doctor, disparities in coverage and access remain for Latino youths as compared to white and black children.
Dornsife Professor Alex Ortega led a team that included Dr. Jie Chen and Dr. Dylan Roby from the Department of Health Services Administration. The study “examined national survey results of more than 60,000 youth—who ranged in age from birth to 17 years old—to determine the effect the Affordable Care Act had on children according to race, ethnicity, and family poverty level. They hoped to discover whether the health law increased insurance coverage and improved health care access, as well as whether the large disparities that exist between Latino children and others were reduced in a significant way.”
Their analysis found that while insurance rates improved for all children, they were still notably lower for Latino children as compared to black children and white children.
The exclusion of undocumented immigrants and recent lawful residents may be one factor affecting this disparity. The fear of deportation may be another. Ninety percent of Latino children in the United States are native-born and eligible for state and federal programs, the study finds, but many of them have parents who are immigrants, with one in four of immigrant parents estimated to be undocumented. These families are termed “mixed-status.”
“The Affordable Care Act protects immigrant parents from having to disclose their citizenship status when applying for insurance for their citizen family members, but many do not trust the system,” Dr. Ortega said.