Equity is a core goal of a high performance health system. However, there is a growing health care divide in the United States, where vulnerable populations--those lacking health insurance, low-income families, and racial and ethnic minorities--are at higher risk for poor health and poor health outcomes than the rest of society. The Affordable Care Act will expand insurance coverage and bolster the parts of the health system that serve vulnerable Americans, yet much work remains. This report from The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System examines the problems facing vulnerable populations and offers a framework for moving forward. It features three overarching strategies to close the health care divide: 1) ensure that health coverage provides adequate access and financial protection; 2) strengthen the care delivery systems serving vulnerable populations; and 3) coordinate care delivery with other community resources, including public health services.
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