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Lawmakers Consider Ways To Reduce Health Care Disparities

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio / File
 

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio / File

California lawmakers spent a large part of the day Wednesday hearing about ways to make health care equally accessible regardless of race, ability or sexual orientation. Policymakers say solutions will start with better information. 

Assembly Health Committee Chair Rob Bonta says eyes may glaze over when the conversation turns to data. But developing different methods of collecting data could reveal problems faced by specific groups of people.

"We are seeing more and more that there are massive health disparities for low income people of color, and I'm about, and most of my colleagues are about evidence-based solutions."

Bonta says for example, Asian-Americans may be better served if health data is broken down to reflect the diversity of ethnic groups. He has a bill that deals with that.

"We know that there are many social indicators for health outcomes, including where you live, your geography, it's important to collect information like ethnicity, sexual orientation, so that we can really target solutions to the problems as we see them," he says.

Lawmakers at the hearing also considered ways new financing rules under the Affordable Care Act may affect hospitals that serve high percentages of low-income patients.