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BOSTON (March 29, 2010) – On Tuesday, March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed his comprehensive health care reform bill into legislation marking a major milestone for our nation as well as our health care system. While this is an important step in health care access, with more than 30 percent of uninsured Americans being Hispanic, many questions still arise.
“No One Asked Me” – Latinos’ Experiences with Massachusetts Health Care Reform, a study commissioned by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and conducted by Dr. Dharma E. Cortés, Senior Research Associate of the Gastón Institute for Latino Public Policy and Community Development at the University of Massachusetts Boston, took an in depth view at Latinos’ experiences with the Massachusetts Health Care Reform law.
In 2006, Massachusetts became the first state to implement a statewide regulation for accessibility to health care. Many similarities exist between this state’s bill and the national bill and the experiences faced by Latinos locally can begin an early dialogue to ensure the gap in health care access is bridged.
“Massachusetts is often seen as model for healthcare reform. However, when discussing this reform, attention is often limited to the fiscal implications. This study looked at how effective the state was at communicating and implementing the changes in the law among Latinos,” said Dr. Cortés. “Linguistic barriers, as well as other hurdles, were faced among this large uninsured group.”
Key insights of the study included:
* Latinos reconsidered whether or not health care premiums were affordable as finances fluctuated day-to-day
* Low-income Latinos found it most difficult to enroll in health care due to language barriers and unfamiliarity with the health insurance enrollment process
* Spanish-speaking Latinos needed more guidance in the enrollment process because information was harder to find
* English-speaking Latinos were able to find information but still found the enrollment process confusing
Your browser may not support display of this image. For more information or to view the complete version of “No One Asked Me” – Latinos’ Experiences with Massachusetts Health Care Reform, please visit www.rwjf.org/files/research/4268.52233.pdf.
About Dr. Dharma E. Cortés
Dharma E. Cortés, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Associate at the Gastón Institute as well as instructor at Harvard Medical School in the department of psychiatry. Dr. Cortés has been conducting research with Latinos in the United States for more than 15 years. Her work has focused on the study of culture, mental and physical health and health and mental health service utilization. She has made major contributions to the understanding of the process of acculturation and cultural competence among Latinos in the United States.
About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.