Healthcare is Sick

Is there a cure?

Racial health disparities cost trillions

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Racial health disparities have been present throughout America’s history, a problem that was not solved by the Civil Rights movement.  Check out these 2005 stats from the Office of Minority Health:

-African Americans and Hispanics were approximately two times as likely to die from diabetes compared to whites

-African Americans had two times the infant mortality rates of whites

-African American men were 30 percent more likely to die of heart disease compared to whites

-African American woman were 34 percent more likely to die from breast cancer compared to white women, even though they were 10 percent less likely to be diagnosed with the disease.

Such disparities result in 83,000 deaths every year.  Besides being a moral stain upon the country, this unequal access to care costs a lot of money.  Between 2003 and 2006, the combined direct and indirect cost of health disparities was $1.24 trillion, according to a study by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

Minority groups feel current reform plans do not do enough to eliminate these disparities, and they have made their voices heard.  On October 8th, the NAACP launched its 880 campaign, referring to the 880,000 minorities who died over the past decade because of inadequate health care.  The historic organization is urging all Americans to call their congressional representatives and demand equal access to health care.

Women also face inequalities in the health care system, specifically when buying insurance in the individual health care market.  Many states allow insurance companies to charge women higher premiums because they often cost more to insure than men.  According to a recent report by the National Women’s Law Center, a 25-year-old woman could be charged anywhere from 6 to 45 percent more than a 25-year-old man, depending on the insurance company and place of residence.


[1] http://www.apha.org/NR/rdonlyres/26E70FA0-5D98-423F-8CDF-93F67DE319FE/0/CORRECTED_Econ_Disparities_Final2.pdf

[2] http://www.newsweek.com/id/218524

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Written by Chris Russell

October 21, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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