State Policymakers’ Guide for Advancing Health Equity Through Health Reform Implementation: Summary

Hanlon C, Giles, B
Publication Year: 2012
Patient Need Addressed: Care Coordination/Management, Patient satisfaction/engagement
Population Focus: Medicaid beneficiaries
Demographic Group: Racial and ethnic minority groups
Type of Literature: Grey


Insights Results

Overview of article

  • From October 2011 through June 2012, teams from 7 states participated in the Health Equity Learning Collaborative, which was supported by the Aetna Foundation and administered by the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP). Participating states engaged in technical assistance activities and peer-to-peer learning to plan and carry out coordinated approaches to advance health equity through Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation


  • There are several provisions and policy levers within the ACA that can be used to advance health equity for racial and ethnic minorities including: 1) Insurance coverage provisions, particularly the Medicaid expansion and development of insurance exchanges, to improve racial and ethnic minority populations’ access to needed healthcare services, and culturally and linguistically competent eligibility and enrollment services; 2) Healthcare delivery reform provisions related to the development and implementation of medical and health homes, federal opportunities to support delivery innovations, and support for developing a more diverse healthcare workforce; 3) Provisions related to data collection and standardization to analyze healthcare access and utilization by race, ethnicity and language; and 4) Provisions to improve population health through community-based preventive health programs, support for public health infrastructure, safety-net capacity, and community health needs assessments to appropriately plan for health services in underserved communities and among populations of color

Key takeaways/implications

  • Based on these provisions, the following overall lessons from the Health Equity Learning Collaborative emerged: 1) Advancing health equity does not depend solely on ACA implementation, but ACA provides a unique platform to catalyze state efforts; 2) Language matters: Quality improvement, population health, public health system change, and patient-centeredness all have health equity components; 3) State agencies would like more opportunities for peer-to-peer learning around issues of health equity; 4) Participation in multi-state efforts helps legitimize efforts to advance health equity; 5) Communities need to be partners in policy development and implementation; and 6) Data are power, and states continue to work to improve race, ethnicity, and language (REL) data collection and use it to advance health equity