The Racial Divide Regarding the Affordable Care Act

Survey finds that African-Americans are more likely to support Obama's health legislation.

Posted: 07/09/2012 09:23 AM EDT
Affordable Healthcare & the Racial Divide

President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) has not been welcomed with open arms and in a sense has divided the country. On one hand, there are people who support the ACA and believe that our health-care system is broken and this could help fix it. On the other, there are people who believe that they government shouldn't have this much control over the health care industry or our lives.

The issue of who supports the ACA and who doesn't is also drawn along racial and religious lines, according to a recent survey. The poll, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute days before the Supreme Court made its decision found that "(43 percent) of Americans said that they opposed the Supreme Court overturning the health care law, 35 percent said they were in favor, and around 1-in-5 (21 percent) offered no opinion," writes Robert P. Jones, founder of the Public Religion Research Institute, in the Huffington Post.

The researchers looked at Tea Party members (mostly white) and compared them to Black people (mostly Democrats). They were specific in the survey questions that they asked each political party in regards to race and religion. But when the Public Religion Research Institute factored in race and how that aligns with political affiliation by looking closer at the data, they found that the Tea Party — which is mostly white and Christian — were against the ACA and that most African-Americans — who are mostly Democrats or vote Democratic — supported the ACA.


— 71 percent of the Tea Party were in favor of the Supreme Court opposing the health care law with 57 percent strongly wanting that to happen.

—Yet, 63 percent of African-Americans and 60 percent of Christians of color opposed the Supreme Court overturning the law.

—Despite the ACA's goal of providing 30 million Americans health care, only 25 percent of white evangelical Protestants and 35 percent of the Tea Party say that the health-care reform law will lead to more people with health insurance.

—Fifty-eight percent of African-Americans and 65 percent of Black Protestants say that the legislation will result in higher numbers of insured Americans.

Jones argues that Black and Latino support for the ACA may not be due to just an allegiance to Obama, but may also arise out of personal interest. "According to the 2010 Census, 31 percent of Hispanic Americans and 21 percent of Black Americans were uninsured, compared to only 12 percent of non-Hispanic white Americans," he wrote.

And that reasoning makes sense to a certain extent given that Black Americans bear the brunt of lack of access and poor health in the U.S. According to the White House, 20 percent of all African-Americans did not have a regular doctor, compared to 16 percent of whites; African-Americans are more likely to develop and die of cancer than any other racial or ethnic group; and African-Americans were diagnosed with AIDS at nine times the rate of whites. Also, African-Americans are more likely to use the emergency room as a regular place of care compared to whites and African-Americans are more likely than both their white and Latino counterparts to report delaying or forgoing dental care and prescription drugs. 

 

 

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