Did the Affordable Care Act help more African Americans than any other group?

Clinton said that “the Affordable Care Act has helped more African Americans than any other group to get insurance, to be taken care of.” But the Obama administration’s own figures show a larger drop in the uninsured among Latinos.

How has the ACA benefited African Americans compared to Latinos?

The Department of Health and Human Services released an analysis in late September, saying 17.6 million had gained health insurance coverage under the ACA. The administration said that figure included three groups: young adults who were able to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26, those who signed up for the Medicaid expansion and those who gained coverage through the state and federal insurance marketplaces.

The rate of uninsured African American adults dropped by 10.3 percentage points, a greater decline than among whites but not as much as the rate drop for Latinos. Here are the HHS figures for the decline in the uninsured between October 2013 and Sept. 12, 2015:

  • 4 million Latino adults gained coverage, with the uninsured rate dropping 11.5 percentage points to 30.3%
  • 2.6 million African American adults gained coverage, with the uninsured rate dropping 10.3 percentage points to 12.1%
  • 7.4 million white adults gained coverage, with the uninsured rate dropping 6 percentage points to 8.3%

An HHS fact sheet, also released in September 2015, said generally that “the Affordable Care Act is working to increase access to affordable, quality health care. This is especially true of the African-American Community.” But in terms of the uninsured, the coverage gains have been greater for Latinos.

December 2014 Urban Institute report projected the ACA could “substantially narrow differences in uninsurance rates between whites and all racial/ethnic minorities, except blacks,” because blacks disproportionately live in states that did not expand Medicaid.

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