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Race disparities in healthcare are discouraging

 

Racial disparities in healthcare are discouraging.  

There are many norms in the US healthcare system that are absolutely biased. I’m sure many have gone right over my head, but here is one: We need to talk about the fact that the entire system is built around insurance as the payor which affects POC at a disproportionately high rate. 

We know that insurance dramatically improves access to care and reduces race disparities of health. Unfortunately for many, insurance does not fit in the budget. Uninsured rates for Whites is 9% with a probability of losing insurance of 12% in a given year. The uninsured rate for Blacks is 14% with a 23% probability of losing coverage each year. Finally, 25% of Hispanics don’t have insurance and have a 30% chance of losing insurance on a yearly basis. The disparity in healthcare coverage magnifies the disparity of access to care. Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics that go without “usual source of care because of cost” is 21%, 27%, and 43% respectively. 

Even those with insurance aren’t truly sheltered from the economic wrath of the American health system: In 2017 the average ACA policy annual deductible was $4,328. Nearly 1 in 3 Black Americans ages 18-64 have past due medical bills. One health event can and does bankrupt families every day. The American health system needs to do better. 

 

  1. Bill Fay. “Health Insurance Premiums, Deductibles, Copays and Coinsurance.” https://www.debt.org/medical/health-insurance-premiums/
  2. McKernan, Braga, and Karas. "Calculations from the 2015 National Financial Capability Study, Adults Age 18-64."
  3. Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Insurance Coverage: Dynamics of Gaining and Losing Coverage over the Life-Course. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5370590/
  4. Samantha Artiga, Kendal Orgera, and Anthony Damico. “Changes in Health Coverage by Race and Ethnicity since the ACA, 2010-2018.” https://www.kff.org/disparities-policy/issue-brief/changes-in-health-coverage-by-race-and-ethnicity-since-the-aca-2010-2018/.
Author
Picture of Dr C Wes Clements III C Wes Clements III, MD MD / Founder of Tailored MD Direct Primary Care Clinic in San Antonio, TX

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