As we close National Women’s Health Week, we recognize the tireless contributions women have made in the overall health and well-being of our country. These contributions not only are reflective in the local community-based health programs and services that our Affiliate Network of community-based organizations and community health centers lead, but also in the leadership roles that they represent both regionally and nationally.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we have seen major gains in access to affordable, quality, and equitable health care for women and children. Prior to the ACA, 36 percent of Latinas ages 15–44 were uninsured. In two years, that rate dropped to 25 percent. The ACA has provided millions of previously uninsured Latinas access to essential health care services and coverage. Key preventive and sexual health services include breast and cervical cancer screenings, immunizations, breastfeeding counseling and support, domestic violence screening and support, and prenatal screenings, including gestational diabetes screening for women at high risk and folic acid supplements, that are offered at no additional cost.
By David Thomsen, Policy Analyst, Health Policy Project, NCLR
All Americans should have the opportunity and ability to achieve good health. While we have made significant progress towards achieving this goal, we know that this progress has been uneven for certain communities. April is National Minority Health Month, and as it comes to a close, we want to take the opportunity to shine a light on the gains we have made, while addressing the remaining work necessary to reduce the health inequities facing our country. While we have a long way to go to reach this goal, many communities—including Latinos—have made significant progress under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Between 2013, when key provisions of the ACA came into effect, and 2015:
- More than four million Latino adults and 600,000 children gained coverage.
- The overall Latino uninsured rate declined from one in four in 2013 to one in six in 2015.
- The uninsured rate for Latino children experienced the largest two-year decline on record (11.5% to 7.5%).
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), over four million Latino adults and 600,000 Latino children have gained health coverage. But beyond these important gains, the ACA does something else.
The ACA ensures that every health plan covers at least these 10 “essential health benefits”:
- Doctors’ visits
- Prescription drugs
- Mental health and addiction treatment services
- Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care
- Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
- Laboratory services
- Preventive care, wellness services, and chronic disease management
- Pediatric services, including oral and vision care for children