The Association Between the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Reduced Disparities in Health Care Access by English Language Proficiency

Tianyi Lu , University of Southern California
Rebecca Myerson, University of Southern California

This paper examines the association between full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and reduced disparities in insurance coverage, access to health care and health care utilization by English language proficiency, with a focus on the Hispanic population. The population with limited English proficient (LEP) is growing rapidly over years and faces disparities in access to care. We analyze data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) 2006-2016. Using multivariate regressions with interaction terms between year indicator after 2014 and population cohort, we show that LEP Hispanics were more likely to have a usual source of health care than their English proficient counterparts under the ACA. The probabilities of forgoing any necessary care decreased more substantially among LEP Hispanics, compared with other Hispanics. However, there was no evidence that the ACA increased the use of health care, improved quality of health care or patient satisfaction among the Hispanic LEP population.

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 Presented in Session 5. Health & Mortality 1