MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kamila B. Mistry, PhD MPH
Senior Advisor, Child Health and Quality Improvement
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
US Department of Health and Human Services
Rockville, MD 20857
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Mistry: This study, conducted by researchers at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), was seeking to explore what impact the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may have on the nation’s well-documented racial/ethnic disparities in insurance coverage, access to medical care, and preventive services utilization. We used pre-ACA (2005-2010) household data from AHRQ’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to examine patterns of coverage, access, and utilization, by race/ethnicity, for nonelderly adults who are targeted by ACA coverage expansion provisions.
Our analysis found that racial/ethnic minorities were disproportionately represented among groups targeted by the ACA. We also found that targeted groups had lower rates of coverage, access, and preventive services utilization, and some racial/ethnic disparities were widest within these groups.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Mistry: The key takeaway point of this research is that the ACA has the potential not only to improve coverage, access, and use for all racial/ethnic groups, but also to narrow racial/ethnic disparities in these outcomes. Our results might have particular importance for states deciding whether to implement the ACA Medicaid expansions.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Mistry: Future research should use data from the post-ACA period (2014 and later) to see whether there was any improvement in coverage, access, and preventive services utilization among adults targeted by the ACA, and whether the racial/ethnic differences in these outcomes have narrowed.