BTC BRIEF: Health Care Disparities and the Medicaid Expansion

By Brenna E. Burch
Policy Analyst, Budget & Tax Center
September 2012


  • Racial disparities in health outcomes—as indicated by mortality rates, infant mortality rates, and other key health indicators—and access to health care, such as access to a primary care doctor, have persisted for many years in North Carolina, with inconsistent or little improvement under the current health care system.
  • A greater share of people of color are uninsured than whites, and this lack of insurance is one reason for the continued disparities in access to health care in communities of color.
  • Under the Affordable Care Act, long-standing racial and ethnic differentials in health insurance coverage are poised to shrink due to the expansion of insurance coverage to hundreds of thousands of individuals and families, particularly through the Medicaid expansion.
  • North Carolina must implement the Medicaid expansion responsibly and effectively in order to reduce racial health disparities and reap the benefits of improved health outcomes and resulting cost savings.
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