Health Care Access

An equitable health care system provides universal access to high quality, affordable, and culturally appropriate clinical care that is responsive to the social conditions that influence an individual’s health. Access to health care empowers individuals to actively engage in preventive and health-promoting activities and provides a safety net in the unfortunate event of major health crises.

Disparities and Statistics

  • Race and Ethnicity: In 2016, non-Hispanic Whites had the lowest uninsured rate among other racial and Hispanic origin groups at 6.3%. The uninsured rates for Blacks and Asians were higher than for non-Hispanic Whites, at 10.5% and 7.6%, respectively. Hispanics had the highest uninsured rate, at 16.0%.6 Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, decreases in the uninsured rate were larger among communities of color compared to Whites, which helped narrow disparities in coverage.⁷

  • Socioeconomic Status: In 2016, 27.5 million nonelderly people lacked health insurance. Overall, an estimated 53% of this population is eligible for financial assistance for coverage. This includes one in four who are eligible for Medicaid. However, eligibility for financial assistance for coverage among the uninsured varies substantially across racial and ethnic groups.⁷

Health: Although the ACA coverage expansions have helped narrow disparities in health coverage for people of color, disparities persist. Hispanics adults and children, in particular, remain at higher risk of being uninsured. These ongoing coverage disparities contribute to greater barriers to accessing care and a greater risk of unaffordable medical bills that could lead to medical debt and financial instability.