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Obamacare failing for Blacks, says new report


According to a recent survey, the Black population is not benefiting from Obamacare as compared to other demographic groups.

Uninsurance rates have dropped across the board for almost all groups—young, old, male, female, married, unmarried, with children, and without children—according to nonprofit healthcare research group the Commonwealth Fund. A telephone survey of 4,425 people found that Americans age 19 to 64 without health insurance fell to 15 percent this spring from a previous 20 percent last summer; the number of adults without insurance fell by 9.5 million in that time period.

The rate of uninsured Whites dropped 4 percent (from 16 to 12 percent), Latinos dropped 13 percent (from 36 to 23 percent), and those who reported to be mixed or other reported their rate to be essentially halved, dropping 9 percent (from 20 to 11 percent). The rate of uninsured Blacks, however, remained relatively unchanged dropping only 1 percent (from 21 to 20 percent).

About a year ago, Blacks were about half as likely as the Latino population to be uninsured, but now the rates are the same and the Commonwealth survey did not explain the reason for the change.

Is this an awareness problem? Not likely. Blacks were almost equally aware of the Affordable Care Act’s financial assistance, and were even more likely than Latinos to be aware of state insurance exchanges.

One explanation for the trend could be that there is a disproportionate amount (62 percent) of the Black population that live in states that have refused to expand Medicaid using federal dollars, whereas in the Latino population that percentage is much smaller (39 percent). Excluding the District of Columbia, only Maryland has expanded its Medicaid program among the other six states where the population is more than 25 percent Black.

While the sluggish progression of the development of Medicaid may be a factor, it does not offer a complete explanation for the ineffectiveness of Obamacare within the Black community. Nearly 40 percent of Blacks who participated in the survey live in states that have taken advantage of expanding Medicaid. The rate of Latinos without insurance fell by 33 percent in states with high Latino population that refused to expand Medicaid such as Florida and Texas.