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Publisher Description

Health disparities, or "preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury and violence, or opportunities ... experienced by socially disadvantaged racial, ethnic, and other populations groups and communities," remain a serious problem in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008). The grim figures are well known to social workers (NASW, 2009). Compared with white Americans, African Americans have shorter life expectancies and higher rates of disease and death. Although Hispanic Americans, particularly those born in other countries, are in better health than nonimmigrant white Americans for at least one generation after immigrating, they lag behind in some measures (Kimbro, Bzostek, Goldman, & Rodriquez, 2008; Russell, 2009; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS], 2010). Racial and ethnic minorities, including Hispanic Americans, also generally have less access to care than white Americans, and when they get it, it is often inferior (HHS, 2010). Much less is known about disparities from Asian Americans, Arab Americans, and other racial and ethnic groups. During the presidential campaign, candidates Obama and Biden pledged to "tackle the root causes of health disparities by addressing differences in access to health coverage and promoting prevention and public health" (Obama Biden, n.d.). The Obama administration has also pledged to take steps to address health disparities (Council on Social Work Education, 2010). Yet, what has been done to date? Thus far, one feat has been the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (EL. 111-148) by Congress in March 2010. This article examines the potential impact of the PPACA on two kinds of health disparities: racial and ethnic disparities and class (as determined or influenced by socioeconomic status) disparities.

Health, Mind & Body
November 1
National Association of Social Workers
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

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