Guest post by Bob Cohen, Policy Director at Citizen Action New York and Public Policy and Education Fund
New York has taken a number of positive steps to address health disparities through the NY State of Health Marketplace, but we still have work to do to provide for completely equitable health outcomes in our state. This was the message of the presenters at an October 31st webinar hosted by HCFANY’s Racial and Ethnic Disparities Task Force.
Carrie Tracy of the Community Service Society began by highlighting some of the steps that New York has already taken to address disparities, often in response to the advocacy efforts of HCFANY and its partners. For example, New York:
- created a strong Navigator program that serves many communities of color and immigrant communities;
- is creating a Basic Health Program, which will provide comprehensive coverage to low-income families and noncitizens with legal immigration status ; and
- released state and county enrollment numbers broken down by race and other demographic factors.
Theo Oshiro of Make the Road New York (MRNY) presented on a June “white paper” MRNY released with the Public Policy and Education Fund/Citizen Action of New York and the Alliance for a Just Society that makes recommendations for additional steps the Marketplace can take to address disparities, including:
- stronger targeting of outreach and enrollment to diverse communities;
- setting targets for enrollment of key demographic groups; and
- creating an independent task force to advise the Marketplace on measures to address disparities.
Finally, Christine Chiu of the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) presented on the needs of New Yorkers who are limited English Proficient (LEP), whose numbers have been growing rapidly in the past two decades. For example, Ms. Chiu recommended translation of the NY State of Health Marketplace’s web page and basic consumer information documents into the most common non-English languages spoken in New York. (The Marketplace has announced that its website will be translated into Spanish by November 15, the start of the next open enrollment period.)
Please contact Carrie Tracy at firstname.lastname@example.org by November 14 to share your group’s disparities agenda for possible inclusion in the Racial and Ethnic Disparities Task Force’s 2015 agenda.
You can listen to a recording of the Webinar here.