Policy brief from the James A. & Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research | Idaho at a Glance. February 2013, Vol. 4, No. 1 | This report gives an overview of health status, behavior, and insurance coverage among Hispanic Idahoans. It also discusses possible impacts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Our goal in presenting the information is to inform health-related policies and programs that impact Idaho’s Hispanics, who make up 11% and a growing share of the state’s population. We found that compared to other Idaho adults, Hispanics are: more likely to be in poor or fair health; less likely to have health insurance; less likely to be physically active during leisure time; and more likely to be overweight.
We also found that among Idaho’s high school students, Hispanics are about twice as likely as others to report that they tried smoking or alcohol at an early age. They are less likely to play on a sports team. The ACA could significantly reduce health disparities between Hispanics and other Idahoans. More Hispanics will have access to health insurance, which research shows is associated with many benefits. These include greater use of preventive care and care for chronic conditions; higher life expectancy; fewer complications from disease; and fewer deaths from treatable causes.
Disparities can also be reduced through healthier behavior, another goal of the ACA, and training of more bilingual and bicultural health workers.