Healthcare Coverage and Access: Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, and Patient Awareness

The state of Wisconsin has maintained one of the lowest uninsured rates in the nation, and yet, many people in our state lack affordable access to healthcare services. This panel discussed strategies to increase patient knowledge and improve access.



Tim Stumm
Wisconsin Health News & Health News Illinois, Founding Editor


Tito Izard
Milwaukee Health Services, Inc., President and CEO

Kirsten Johnson
Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department, Director             

 Mia Keeys
American Medical Association, Health Equity Policy and Advocacy Director

Gwyn Pauley
UW–Madison Department of Economics, Lecturer

Top Takeaways from Panelists:

  • Compared to other states, Wisconsin has a relatively low uninsured rate at 5.5 percent. However, uninsured rates are 2 and 5 times higher for Black and Native American Wisconsinites, respectively, than their white counterparts. Additionally, Wisconsin has one of the highest rates of racial disparity in health outcomes in the nation.
  • Healthcare coverage does not ensure quality healthcare. Barriers to quality care include socially determined factors, which explain an estimated 50 percent to 80 percent of the variation in healthcare outcomes, as well as healthcare costs and underprovision of culturally competent, holistic healthcare services.
  • Academics and healthcare providers are increasingly considering programs that address root causes of health problems and decrease medical costs. These include providing housing and food for vulnerable populations, community-based healthcare programs, and telemedicine.
  • Milwaukee Health Services works to improve vulnerable patients’ health outcomes by providing care that is timely, appropriate, and cost-conscious. Staff members focus on developing relationships with patients, providing compassionate customer service, and implementing activities for the whole community.
  • Health disparities go beyond the healthcare system and reflect broader racial and socioeconomic inequity in the United States. Addressing these root causes is integral to ensuring equitable health outcomes.