Nov 18, 2021 - Health

Health care is a hemisphere-wide concern for Latinos

"Many people in my country
cannot afford good
Data: Ipsos, Global Health Service Monitor 2021; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Health care performance is significantly worse for U.S. Latinos when compared with non-Hispanic white people, while some Latin Americans are also concerned about equitable access to health care in their countries.

Why it matters: A report compiled by the Commonwealth Fund underlines profound racial and ethnic health care disparities across the United States.

The big picture: In nearly every state with a large number of Latinos, the report found that non-Hispanic white people have greater access to health care.

  • A lack of health insurance continues to contribute significantly to health disparities among Latinos.
  • State uninsured rates are markedly higher for Latinos between the ages of 19 and 64, according to the report.
  • An estimated 3 million Latinos face immigration-related barriers to enrollment in subsidized health care plans, such as Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, according to the report.
  • While the social spending bill working its way through Congress would expand Medicare in 12 states, the measure contains nothing to address health disparities for undocumented immigrants.

Details: Poverty rates are higher than average in many predominately Black and Latino communities, where the quality of the health care facilities is often lower.

  • About 36 percent of Latinos live in states that did not expand Medicaid to low-income adults, a measure that could have yielded significant results in increasing access to health care, per the report.
  • Premature death rates are higher for Latinos in several southwestern and mountain states, such as Texas, which opted against Medicaid expansion.

Zoom out: Disparities in access to health care are more pronounced in some Latin American countries, a recent Ipsos poll found.

  • About 80% of residents in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina say that many people cannot afford health care.
  • More than 60% of people in Chile do not believe their country provides the same standard of care to everyone, according to the poll.
  • Over 50% of those polled in Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Chile say the standard of care is unequal depending on income levels.

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