Aging is a continuous and gradual process of innate change that starts in the initial phase of adulthood. In America, a large population of the elderly, mostly from fifty-five years and older, suffer from various illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, dementia, and disability. Older people tend to easily get diabetes because they have a longer sugar exposure compared to younger generations. Therefore, long exposure to sugar increases their chances of diabetes type two and abnormally high glucose levels in their blood (hyperglycemia). On the other hand, although cancer does not have a specific age of development, it is more common among older people.
As people grow old, their cells also are damaged over time, and the damage continues building up, thus causing cancer. Additionally, dementia among the older population is mainly caused by vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s illness. Vascular dementia constitutes the changes in blood supply to the brain and mostly arise from arteries hardening (arteriosclerosis) and stroke. Lastly, adults aged 65 years and older often result to disability as a result of stroke, dementia, and other terminal illnesses. Among these subjects, the most common type of disability is mobility disability, an impairment affecting movement. This paper will look at healthcare coverage among people with disability in the United States.
How do Most Disabled people Receive Healthcare Coverage?
Persons with disabilities in the United States are given three healthcare coverage options: Medicare, Medicaid, and Affordable Care Act Marketplace. Medicaid issues are free of charge or give low-price medical advantages to disabled people. Therefore, the US government urges these disabled people, their families, or guardians to learn about Medicaid eligibility and apply. Besides, Medicare is used to provide disabled people with health care insurance. In comparison, the Affordable Medical Act Marketplace offers additional helpful choices to patients with disabilities who need health insurance but do not qualify for disability benefits (Heslop et al., 2019). In addition, health caregivers have a role in making rational changes or modifications to procedures, practices, and policies in their health facilities.
These modifications aim at issuing equal opportunities to services and facilities to disabled people. Using the term rational modification implies a wide concept that covers all types of disability. Moreover, providers of healthcare make sure that their communication with vision, speech, and hearing patients are equally productive as with other patients. Usually, the service or aid provided is determined by the communication method of the patient, length, and the setting of the communication. For example, a deaf person uses sign language, and therefore, healthcare practitioners provide a sign language interpreter either for a non-emergency or scheduled appointment.
Is Coverage the Same Throughout All Disabled People in the US?
Disability is diverse since while certain health conditions linked to disability cause deterioration of health, other conditions do not. Despite these facts, all disabled people in the United States have equal overall healthcare requirements as other people (Kanter, 2019). Therefore, the US government provides these people with a way into mainstream healthcare services. Although the US tries to maintain equity for all persons with disability, the system of healthcare in this country is highly fragmented, complex, and at other times unduly restrictive with regards to program qualification and eligibility. Due to the above, some handicapped individuals face cost-sharing responsibilities, while others lack health-care coverage (Heslop et al., 2019). These cost-sharing obligations limit disabled people from getting medical equipment, specialty care, vision care, and care coordination benefits.
How Does Intersectionality Affect Healthcare Within Disabled People?
Intersectionality is the process of acknowledging that all people have individual and unique oppression and discrimination experiences. Various aspects used for marginalizing people include family status, age, gender, legal status, and race. An American Community Survey reveals that most disabled-black Americans undergo more struggle in order to receive the right health services and diagnosis. This survey data is true, especially for ‘invisible disabilities’ like autism. Most educators disband invisible disabilities as discernible issues in many black children compared to white ones. Moreover, disabled black Americans have more problems with police officers, who often misinterpret their behavior (Lumsden & Black, 2020). For example, white police officers consider it a threat when they tell a black and deaf person to stop but instead keep on walking. When the law enforcement assumes that the refusal of the black individual to comply is due to aggression, the punishment could be fatal.
Girls and women with disabilities go through two times the discrimination than disabled men. The greater discrimination is because when this gender experiences any form of disability, they are placed at a higher risk of exploitation, sexual violence, neglect, and gender-based violence. The US rate of literacy is also as low as 1% for disabled women. In addition, every day, more than thirty women are severely disabled or injured in the course of labor (Maegele et al., 2019). Generally, these women account for fifty million women who are neglected. Poverty is another disadvantage that faces most disabled people in the United States.
Poverty heightens the likelihood of disability since poor people are at a greater risk of injuries and poor health, which might cause disability. One factor contributing to poverty among disabled people is due to paid work barrier. Finally, the United States emphasizes the elderly than the younger generation health care. This notion is due to the belief that the elderly, mostly 65years and older, have a higher disability rate than children and young adults (Doyle et al., 2021). Therefore, children born with a disability and those disabled at a young age are left under the care of their guardians and parents, thus contributing to poverty due to health financial strains.
Differences and Similarities Regarding Health Care Coverage and Outcomes for Disabled Subgroups
People with all kinds of disabilities are provided with special health care requirements, especially those with terminal conditions. These people often need assistance with day-to-day activities regular health care either at home or in long-term care facilities since their condition limits their ability to work. The US government offers various options specifically for disabled people, such as filling out market plan applications for disabled people who lack health coverage. Disabled people are also provided with SSDI (Social Security Disability Income), which saves them from paying penalties usually paid by people who lack coverage (Goldman et al., 2018). This disability income has a waiting time of twenty-four months before it begins helping disabled persons. Additionally, all visually impaired and other disabled people receiving SSI (Supplemental Security Income) automatically qualify for Medi-Cal. A Medi-Cal program funds all health services that low-income earners and disabled people cannot afford.
Therefore, firstly, there are distinct types of health care coverage with respect to the type of disability. For example, partial health insurance is given to mentally disabled people but with various terms and conditions. One condition is that these plans can only cover the basic medical treatments thus might not cover some expensive medical procedures. Setting a limit to these healthcare benefits has helped in making sure a larger percentage of mentally disabled people access this insurance. Secondly, for the deaf, DHHA (Deaf and Hard of Hearing Alliance) positions itself that the benefit of both public and private plans should issue coverage for purchasing the proper hearing aids for deaf adults and children. This alliance also ensures that deaf people receive essential and qualified services for medical diagnosis and evaluation, follow-up care, audiological assessment, and hearing aid fitting (Goldman et al., 2018). Hearing aids are very expensive, and therefore, through the DHHA, hearing-impaired people, especially the poor, get to enjoy this benefit that they could otherwise not afford.
How Do Disabled Persons Participate in Health Care Policies and Decisions Affecting Their Well Being?
Including disabled people in decision-making regarding health care in their daily activities constitutes policies and practices designed to identify and remove barriers. Examples of these barriers are attitudinal, physical, and communication that holds the ability of these individuals to have complete participation in their health. This health care inclusion includes non-discrimination (receiving equal treatment from other people) universal design (making communications, the physical environment, and products more usable by as many disabled people as possible) (Trewin et al., 2019). Inclusion also involves modifying procedures, systems, or items so that disabled persons can use them to the maximum degree possible and eliminating the belief that disabled people are not healthy or are not capable of getting anything done (Stigma stereotypes). Generally, disability inclusion constitutes input from disabled persons, especially through independent living and disability-focused organizations.
In legislation and national policy, there are three different national laws that aim to protect the rights of disabled people and ensure they are included in various societal aspects. These laws include Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), and Patient Protection and Affordable Act. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act aims at protecting the disabled from discrimination due to their disability (Kanter, 2019). This section forbids institutions such as health organizations from denying disabled individuals equal health care services as non-disabled patients. ADA has helped remove barriers for disabled people by protecting their civil rights and proving guaranteed and equal opportunities for disabled persons in pharmacies, theatres, and offices of doctors.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act helps people with disabilities in distinct ways. Firstly, this Act gives more choices in healthcare and enhances protection for disabled Americans. Secondly, it issues fresh options in health care for continuous support and services and leads to improvement of options for community-based and Medicaid home services (Kanter, 2019). Thirdly, provision of affordable and high-quality health care to a large population of disabled people. Moreover, this Act mandates the accessibility of preventive equipment for screening and data collection for accessing health disparities. Finally, the Patient Protection and Affordable Act passes disability status as a social-economic category.
In conclusion, disabled individuals are at a greater risk of having poor health outcomes. Therefore, there is a need for public health efforts to minimize disparities in health among disabled persons. It is also important for people to have the appropriate knowledge of public health requirements and health status to address these disparities. Including people with disabilities in healthcare, decision-making proves effective in providing fundamental knowledge concerning the connection between health outcomes and programs associated with public health among the disabled.
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