Health Highlights: April 18, 2016

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Large Health Coverage Gains for Minorities Under Affordable Care Act

Immigrants, minorities and low-wage workers had the most significant gains in health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act during its first full year, according to a New York Times analysis.

The largest rise in coverage rates was among immigrants of all backgrounds, including more than a million legal residents who are not citizens.

The analysis also found that Hispanics accounted for nearly one-third of adults who gained coverage, even though Hispanics account for just 17 percent of the overall U.S. population, The Times reported.

Other minority groups also had large gains, along with low-wage workers such as cashiers, hairdressers, waiters, cooks and dishwashers.

By the end of the Affordable Care Act’s first full year, 2014, the number of low-income people who were newly-insured was so large that it stopped the decades-long widening gap in coverage between poor and better-off Americans, The Times reported.

However, the law has a long way to go before achieving the objective of universal coverage, partly due to the fact that 19 states have refused to expand their Medicaid programs for the poor.

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