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September 28th, 2012 By German Lopez | News | Posted In: Health care, News, Poverty

Health Coverage in Ohio Lowest Among Minorities

Study shows Hispanics have lowest coverage in the state

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Following a national trend, Ohio's minorities have the lowest levels of health care coverage, according to a new study from The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. The study looked at 2006-2008 data for only men to gauge health insurance coverage and other health issues in a pre-Obamacare world.

In Ohio, Hispanics have the highest rates of no coverage at 40.1 percent. Blacks are second with 25.3 percent having no coverage. Meanwhile, only 14.6 percent of whites have no coverage.

The disparity is prevalent on a national level. Hispanics still lead the nation with rates of no coverage at 46 percent, but Native Americans overtake blacks on a national level with a rate of 38.5 percent. Blacks are 28.8 percent, Asians and Pacific Islanders are 21 percent, and whites are 15.7 percent.

The study assigned “disparity scores” to measure the racial disparity in health care coverage. The national average score was 2.27. Ohio did better than most of the nation and its neighbors with a score of 1.83. Kentucky was rated 2.06, Indiana 2.14 and Michigan 1.86. Pennsylvania and West Virginia beat out Ohio with scores of 1.74 and 1.31, respectively.

The study also looked at access to personal doctors and health care providers. Ohio did a little better in this category among Hispanics.

The study found 30.5 percent of blacks had no access to a personal doctor or health care providers, while 27.6 percent of Hispanics did not. Whites remained at the top with only 21.1 percent not having access to a personal doctor or health care provider.

For black men, the most striking national health disparity was that black men were more than seven times more likely as white men to be diagnosed with AIDS. For every 100,000 men, 104.1 black people were newly diagnosed with AIDS. Hispanics were second with 40.8, then Native Americans at 17.3, then whites at 13.7, then Asians and Pacific Islanders at eight. Overall, the study assigned a 4.37 disparity score to AIDS diagnoses nationwide.

In Ohio, the rates of new AIDS cases were better overall, but the disparity score was worse than the national average at 5.23. Among whites, only 7.3 out of 100,000 were newly diagnosed with AIDS. Blacks were 46.2, Hispanics were 26.1, Native Americans were 9.8 and Asian and Pacific Islanders were 1.6.

The report also looks at poverty levels, incarceration rates, routine checkups, unemployment, the wage gap and more. The full report can be found here.

Ohio Medicaid Director John McCarthy said on Sept. 26 Ohio might expand its Medicaid program, but at lower levels than Obamacare demands. Using the incentive of federal Medicaid dollars, President Barack Obama’s health care reform asks states to expand their state Medicaid programs to include everyone at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The requirement overlaps with the newly established exchanges, which cover individuals between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level by providing a market in which insurance companies compete for customers getting federal subsidies for health insurance. McCarthy said he would like to eliminate the overlap and only expand Medicaid to cover up to 100 percent of the federal poverty level.

Historically, Medicaid helps minorities the most. Medicaid expansions in other states also showed improvements in health and mortality rates while saving money by eliminating the amount of uncompensated care.

 
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