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Minorities Would Be Hard Hit By Medicaid Cuts, Study Warns

Blacks and Latinos would be among those hardest hit if Medicaid funding were cut as part of a deficit-reduction package, according to a new report released today by Families USA,  the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Council of La Raza, among others.

In these communities, more than one in four people rely on Medicaid, the shared federal-state health program for the poor, compared with fewer than one in eight whites.

Blacks and Latinos are not only more likely than whites to suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma and certain cancers, but they are also more likely to experience complications, to have poorer outcomes and to die prematurely from those conditions, according to the report.

“Without Medicaid, many of these seriously ill people would not be able to afford the care they need. For them, Medicaid coverage is critical.  Federal or state cuts to the Medicaid program would truly put them at risk,” the study warns.

The report comes as the debt deal’s super committee continues to meet on Capitol Hill, facing a Nov. 23 deadline to vote on recommendations to reduce the federal deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over the next decade.

The document’s findings include:

  • Among blacks with cancer, more than one in five  is covered by Medicaid.
  • More than one-third of blacks with chronic lung disease have Medicaid.
  • Among Latinos with chronic lung disease, nearly two in five have Medicaid coverage.
  • About a quarter of Latinos with diabetes and heart disease or stroke are covered by Medicaid.

According to the report, not having health insurance can contribute to poor health outcomes. In 2010, 20.8 percent of blacks and 30.7 percent of Latinos did not have insurance, compared to 11.7 percent of whites. If diseases like cancer, diabetes, asthma and heard disease aren’t detected early and managed appropriately, poor outcomes, medical complications and death are harder to prevent, the report states.