Affordable Care Act: 'Colorblind' Policy and Bigoted Effects

The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates examines the implementation of the ACA and explains why the "lift all boats" policy often falls short. 

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The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates examines the implementation of the ACA and explains why the "lift all boats" policy often falls short.

... I want to preface what I am about to say by pointing out the obvious -- the ACA is a great thing. I suspect it will go down as the president's greatest achievement and probably the best thing he's done to fight income inequality.

With that said, if you look at a map of which states are refusing the Medicaid expansion, and then look at this report from the Urban Institute, a troubling (if predictable) trend emerges. Approximately a fifth (about 18 percent) of all people who will remain untouched by the Medicaid expansion are black. When you start drilling down to the states where those black people tend to live, it gets worse. In Virginia and North Carolina, 30 percent of those who are going to miss out are black. In South Carolina and Georgia, the number is around 40 percent. In Louisiana and Mississippi, you are talking about 50 percent of those who would be eligible for the expansion but who will go uncovered.

You look at Latinos and get a similar (and to some extent worse) picture. Nationally, Latinos make up 18 percent of those who stand to get health coverage. But in Arizona -- where the legislature is fighting Jan Brewer's effort to expand Medicaid -- Latinos make up 34 percent of those who stand to gain coverage. In Florida, they make up 27 percent, and in Texas they make up 47 percent. Texas has the highest rate of uninsured in the country.

Read Ta-Nehisi Coates' entire piece at The Atlantic.

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