Your Take: HHS Official on Health Care Reform
Two years old, the law is making a difference for blacks and others, says Dr. J. Nadine Gracia.
Health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities carry a steep cost, not only for the members of those communities but also for our country as a whole. Even as medical advances and technological development are helping Americans to live longer, healthier lives, many Americans continue to suffer disproportionately from sickness and disease.
But under the benefits of the Affordable Care Act -- signed into law by President Obama two years ago today -- all Americans can enjoy the promise of a better, healthier future. The act sets forth the most significant policies to reduce health disparities in our nation's history. And it's already making a difference.
Historically, one of the leading reasons for the higher prevalence of certain diseases among racial and ethnic minorities in America has been the lack of access to preventive care and insurance coverage. As a pediatrician who has cared for many minority and disadvantaged children, I have seen the impact of these disparities firsthand and the toll that preventable illness has on families and communities.
Under the new health care law, 86 million Americans now have access to free preventive services, such as cancer and diabetes screenings. That includes more than 2.4 million African-American seniors covered by Medicare who have already received free preventive services. In addition, 5.5 million African Americans with private health insurance can now receive preventive care with no out-of-pocket costs.