The limited resources available to disparate populations are a major factor in their ability to both manage and improve their health. This project examines how the employment and labor market status of individual family members affect the family's ability to obtain health insurance and health care. Previous research has shown that jobs in the American labor market cluster into three segments: "primary", "secondary", or "intermediary" jobs. Good jobs are defined as jobs that have annual earnings above 120 percent ofthe poverty level for a typical family of three, an employer provided retirement benefit, and employer provided health insurance;bad jobs are defined as jobs that have none of these things. In 2005 about 26 percent of "intermediary workers" and 100 percent of "secondary workers" had jobs that did not provide them with health insurance. Overall 45 percent of American workers had jobs that did not provide them with health insurance. Among those who were employed, almost 18 percent did not have health insurance from any source. While most Americans exit the "secondary" labor market by age thirty, minority workers have an increased risk of continued employment in either the "secondary" or the "intermediary" labor market. Because employer provided health insurance is the primary mechanism for delivering health care in the United States, it is possible that the overrepresentation of minorities in jobs that do not provide health insurance is a major reason for the morbidity and mortality disparity between blacks and whites. In an effort to gain a full understanding of the dynamics of health insurance and the health disparate population, it is important to also important to evaluate the probable affects which the Affordable Care Act may play in allocation of health care resources for the disparity population.
The connection between not only employment status, but also employment type and health insurance coverage on individual health is an important cornerstone in the development of programs and policies to reduce health disparities. The added knowledge of how the recent Affordable Care Act may affect this relationship is also significant to understanding how to improve the health of communities.
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