How to Bake Health Equity into Health Reform

The Front Lines of Health Reform, Edition I

You could almost forget that the goal of health reform is better health for American residents. The conversations around implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are, by necessity, highly technical and complicated. We talk about essential benefits packages and health insurance exchanges, which would seem to paint the ACA as an opportunity to transform health insurance, not health care and ultimately, health.

The ACA is about more than just health insurance. By changing the way health care is delivered and paid for, the ACA acts as a lever by which the Connecticut Health Foundation (CT Health) and our partners can achieve our mission to improve the health of Connecticut residents.

In increasing access to health care, the ACA promises to bring in those who have historically been left out. With our focus on health equity for people of color, the Connecticut Health Foundation (CT Health) has a heightened consciousness around the needs of those communities. Improving the health of these Connecticut residents will take more than making health insurance affordable.

How can the ACA address Health Equity in Connecticut?

First of all, the good news is that, with 62 references to health disparities, the language of the ACA has embedded within it the ingredients for advancing health equity for people of color. An opportunity this size for advancing health equity is unprecedented, and we want to see Connecticut make the most of it. To do this, we can take the following steps:

CT Health is focusing on these steps to make sure the ACA is meaningful for all Connecticut residents. What steps are you and your organizations taking to ensure health reform is implemented in an inclusive way? What are the pitfalls we need to avoid along the way? We’d like to hear from you.