Posted by Sara Finger, Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health
This post is part of the Health Equity Can’t Wait, Act now in your CommUNITY blog carnival launched by the Health Equity and Accountability Act Working Group; you can see all posts on the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) website by linking, here.
Yesterday, we blogged on our health equity agenda and what we were doing in Wisconsin to raise awareness and support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as means for doing so. But some might wonder why advocates for health care reform believe it is so crucial for the wellbeing of communities all across the country, Wisconsin included. To that we say: health care is a basic human right, and the status quo is not working for women and families.
But, we can tell you what IS working: health care reform provisions that have already taken place so far. Earlier this month, we sharedsome promising statistics about health care access for racial and ethnic minority young adults. The statistics show, thanks to a provision in the ACA that allows young adults to stay on their parents insurance until their 26th birthday, 1.3 million minority young adults now have health insurance, including:
- 763,000 Latinos
- 410,000 African Americans
- 97,000 Asian Americans
- 29,000 American Indian/Alaskans
Insurance rates among minorities will increase with the implementation of health care exchanges in 2014, as well, which is why we support its implementation, because access to quality health care services is a basic human right. It is a basic human right to have access to the same quality, lifesaving, and affordable health care services as your peers.
However, this is not the case for many women. Low income women are at risk of lacking access to preventive cancer screenings. Women of color are more likely to be uninsured than their white peers and less likely to have access to cancer and other preventive screenings. As a result, 9 more black women die from breast cancer than white women, per 100,000, annually, a startling, unnecessary and unjust statistic.
Additionally, there is about a 33 year difference in life expectancy between the longest and shortest living racial and ethnic groups – which is why access to health care is, and should be considered, a basic human right. That’s 33 years less time with your children, friends and family. A 33 year difference in life expectancy is just one reason why health equity can’t wait.