Medical debt discrimination is an increasing and worrisome issue. Major causes of this issue are unresolved economic issues, failure of current policies and laws and discrimination. Without action minorities all around the globe will continue to struggle everyday. One possible solution to this issue is to revise the current laws and regulations set in place that are accompanied with this issue. The best policy to adjust is the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to benefit everyone and remove the requirements associated with it. This solution will eliminate medical bankruptcy, combat minoritized groups suffering, and improve health insurance affordability for all minorities.
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Discriminatory practices are vastly evident to everyone. However most people are unaware of these practices being in health care. Jacqueline C. Wiltshire, from the department of health policy, reveals that only 7.1% of white Americans have medical debt, as opposed to the 21.4% of African Americans that have medical debt (3). There is a clear distinction mentioned in this statistic. Mark Rukavina, a Program Director, overseeing work on the Community Benefit and Economic Stability Project, states people spend more than 10 percent of their income on health insurance, which is leading to national bankruptcy. Now causing millions of these families to lack the financial resources to cover these costs and struggle with outstanding bills (8).
Leading causes of this issue include deep rooted discrimination and failures of policies and laws. The original ACA has been found unbeneficial to minorities of both race and economic status. In many cases people of color, or people that cannot afford health insurance were turned away at the door in a time of need. Not only is this issue absurd, it's unconstitutional. Another reason people experience this issue is because of an individual's age. Wiltshire clarifies that one cause of medical debt is that older adults may have more healthcare needs induced by multiple chronic conditions and limited financial resources to pay out-of-pocket costs compared to younger adults (3). Such evaluations call for a change.
This article will study the issues from the medical, economic and political legal lenses. In this article, the research question will therefore be: What is the most effective way to address medical debt for minoritized groups in America? It was found that revising the Affordable Care Act is the best way to address this issue because it will eliminate medical bankruptcy, combat minority groups suffering, and improve health insurance affordability for all minorities.
While the original ACA is beneficial to “most” it failed to address inclusivity and equality. However with revision this can be fixed. Revising the ACA is a better solution than simply getting rid of it because of the fact that the original ACA has “touched on a broad variety of social institutions and societal relationships” despite its failure to address minorities (Campbell et al. 37). Revising the ACA is becoming increasingly necessary to prevent medical bankruptcy for minorities, prevent minority groups suffering and give the ability to limit the rise of health insurance pricing, which is a main reason it is a vital and necessary solution.
The Journal of Scholarship at WHS is a peer reviewed journal publishing academic works by emerging scholars at Weymouth Middle and High School.