Expansion of Health Insurance Could Help Reduce Health Care Disparities, Lawmakers, Experts Say
Proposals to expand health insurance to all U.S. residents could help reduce, but would not eliminate, health care disparities, lawmakers and health care experts said on Tuesday at a House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee hearing, CQ HealthBeat reports.
According to recent studies, women and racial and ethnic minorities have less access to care, receive a lower quality of care and have more negative health outcomes than other groups, and some groups have a higher prevalence of certain diseases. Lawmakers and experts attributed the disparities to a number of socioeconomic factors, such as income, education, environment, geography, language barriers and health insurance status.
Marsha Lillie-Blanton -- Kaiser Family Foundation senior adviser on race, ethnicity and health care -- said that, among the 47 million nonelderly residents who lacked health insurance in 2006, about half were minorities. She added that, although expansion of health insurance to more research on effective strategies and collecting data to better track performance is required.
Subcommittee Chair Pete Stark (D-Calif.) said, "Universal coverage won't be able to end the disparities, but you won't be able to end the disparities without it" (Wyckoff, CQ HealthBeat, 6/11).