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Hispanics More Likely To Remain Uninsured, Study Says

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The total number of uninsured Americans seems to have gone down since 2010, but Hispanics still have a higher risk of going without proper health insurance compared to other racial and ethnic demographics, a new study suggests.

The Commonwealth Fund, a private organization concerned with the US health care system, released the report that looked to identify people who remained uninsured after the Affordable Care Act (ACA), nicknamed Obamacare, was enacted, ABC News reports.

The study showed that among racial and ethnic populations, the rate of Hispanics with no health insurance rose “from 29% in 2013 to 40% in 2016, more than twice their representation in the overall population,” the authors stated. “In contrast, the share of whites has declined, falling from half in 2013 to 41 percent in 2016.”

The population of uninsured black people likewise went down in the same period, though only from 13 to 12%.

Sara Collins, a lead author on the study and vice-president of the Health Care Coverage and Access at the Commonwealth Fund, said,

There is a larger slice of the pie made up of Latinos.

She added that “the share of whites [and other race-ethnicities] dropped” when the health care coverage expanded.

Other risk factors for forgoing health insurance include an annual income of less than $16,243, being younger than 35 years old, and working for a small enterprise, the study said. On the bright side, overall health coverage has improved, with the total number of uninsured Americans decreasing by 20 million since Obamacare began.

But there are still 24 million working-age adults who had no health insurance from 2013 to 2016, the researchers noted.

To gather data, the researchers called 4,802 people in the country from February to April, asking questions on health care. The team has conducted a series of surveys since 2013 to determine how health care might have changed in three years.

Collins said that undocumented immigrants, the majority of whom are Hispanic, were at a high risk for having no health insurance as they are not qualified for Obamacare, Medicare or Medicaid services.

She said the answer lies in immigration reform, where helping people gain citizenship would make them eligible for health insurance.

Rachel Garfield, a senior researcher at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said that many Southern states, which have higher Hispanic populations, have not expanded their Medicaid coverage guidelines, keeping low-income residents uninsured.

Garfield said that the study’s findings on Hispanics are not surprising and that other research has found similar results.

The Kaiser Family Foundation released their own study that focuses on uninsured people in California, reporting that 67% of the population is Hispanic, but half of them have no health insurance. Of those who were uninsured in 2013, 79% are now covered by Obamacare.

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