The purpose of this discussion is to obtain knowledge on the health disparities that currently exist in the United States (U.S) and to identify two public health policies that are needed in order to reduce specifically the racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare. Shi and Singh (2014) state that the 2015 U.S census bureau estimated that more than 38% of the population was made up of minorities. With this number expected to continue to rise, it is important that the correlation is made to these minorities and the uninsured. In 2014, the number of uninsured was 19.9% of Hispanics, 11.8% of blacks, 9.3% of Asian Americans (Shi, & Singh, 2014). These minorities have a harder time accessing healthcare, receive care of lesser quality and are an increased risk for contracting illness’ (Shi, & Singh, 2014). In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) sought to narrow the gap on health disparities by offering increased government-assisted health insurance programs through Medicaid and setting standards for the health insurance companies to widen the eligibility and to prevent discrimination (Shi, & Singh, 2014). This public policy helped to reduce the number of minorities that were uninsured and was an overall step in the right direction. However, some Republicans continue to repeal and alter the ACA which has led to some stricter requirements and many becoming uninsured once again (Hayes, et al. 2017). This is a step in the wrong direction because of the more uninsured citizens out there the poorer the health of these individuals and families which results in more expenses for the government anyways. There are two public policies that could be used to reduce these disparities in health care and they include requiring all citizens to obtain health insurance either through private insurance companies or an expanded Medicaid system that is mostly government-funded and an additional expansion on health insurance that allows young adults to be covered through parental insurance plans up until age 30. These policies would almost eliminate the uninsured Americans in two quick acts that open the opportunities for insurance at decreased cause but also sets a standard that has to be followed in order to lead to improved health and healthcare. Kaiser Health News mentions that the uninsured are especially common in rural areas and that is why these areas would be great for testing these new policies before they are enacted into law. The first policy would put into place a deadline that citizens would have to obtain insurance and those that remained uninsured would face a heavy penalty the following tax year. President Obama attempted to initiate this policy but failed because the penalty for not being insured was still cheaper for individuals than paying for insurance (Shi, & Singh, 2014). This mistake can be avoided by implementing it first in a rural community in order to work through the kinks and provide evidenced-based adjustments. Second, allowing young adults to stay on their parent’s health insurance until they are 30 years-old would eliminate the largest population of uninsured (Shi, & Singh, 2014). Young adults are oftentimes just entering careers in their late 20’s and are still facing school debts and other major bills that they can barely afford. They are also pretty healthy a majority of the time and would rather avoid seeking health care than fork out a lump sum each paycheck for health insurance. Advancing the age of coverage on parental health insurance would decrease the amount of uninsured exponentially and increase health in a large population of Americans. References Hayes, S., Riley, P., Radley, D. (2017). Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Access to Care. Retrieved from https://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-briefs/2017/aug/reducing-racial-and-ethnic-disparities-access-care-hasKaiser Health News. (2020). States Look For Big Ideas To Turn Around Health Care Deficiencies In Rural Areas. https://khn.org/morning-breakout/states-look-for-big-ideas-to-turn-around-health-care-deficiencies-in-rural-areas/
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