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FRIDAY, April 10, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Americans' access to health care is improving under President Barack Obama's health care law, with greater gains among blacks and Hispanics than among whites, according to a federal government report.
The proportion of uninsured adults under 65 fell from a high of 22 percent in 2010 to 16 percent in the second quarter of 2014, after the implementation of "Obamacare," the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) said.
"These findings indicate that the Affordable Care Act's Health Insurance Marketplaces is making health insurance available to millions of Americans who might otherwise have been uninsured," AHRQ Director Richard Kronick said in an agency news release.
And, the agency noted that this data only includes the first open enrollment period for Obamacare, which is also known as the Affordable Care Act.
From the last quarter of 2013 to the first half of 2014, the percentage of uninsured adults fell from 40 percent to 33 percent among Hispanics. In blacks, the percentage of uninsured adults dropped from 25 percent to 16 percent during that time, and for whites, the number of uninsured went from 14 percent to 11 percent.
The report also said that racial disparities for certain health services have been eliminated. Black children now receive the measles-mumps-rubella vaccinations at similar rates that white children do. Obese Hispanic adults are now getting nutrition counseling at rates similar to other adults. American Indian children are getting hepatitis B vaccinations at rates similar to other children now, the reports said.
Between 2013 and June 2014, the percentage of people who have a usual place to go to for medical care rose slightly for all races. Hispanics had the largest gain, with 82 percent now having a usual place for medical care, up from 79 percent.
However, Hispanics and blacks still have lower access to health care for about half of the measures included in the report, including problems or delays in receiving care, the AHRQ said.
The National Quality and Disparities Report, prepared by the AHRQ, is mandated by Congress. The report has been issued every year since 2003. The report said the overall quality of care is improving, but millions of patients are still harmed by adverse events that occur during medical care.
-- Robert Preidt
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SOURCES: U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, news release, April 10, 2015