Why Racial Inequalities in the Healthcare System Can Be Deadly

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By: Krystle Crossman

There are racial inequalities everywhere in the country but some of the biggest inequalities come from the healthcare system. Black men are 50% more likely to die an early death than white males are. Black women are ten times more likely to die during childbirth than white women are. There are times when a white female and a black female will go into the same clinic with the same symptoms and yet they come out with a completely different diagnosis. Not only is this frustrating but it can be deadly.

Mary Bassett, MD, MPH, is the health commissioner in New York City. She states that there is a huge oversight in the healthcare system and it affects black people much more than it does white people. Black men have a much higher death rate from diseases such as HIV, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Most often these are a result of a misdiagnosis or limited access to quality healthcare. She states that black men are the ones who are affected the most by the racial disparity in the healthcare system but black women are at a close second.

A group called the Young Invincibles is a policy group that looks at different policies around the country and reviews them. They are focused on healthcare reform at the moment and they have released data that shows that the black community is vastly uninsured. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act helped almost 500,000 African-Americans gain insurance as they were under the age of 26 and could be kept on their parents plan. It has also helped 1.8 million gain tax credits which help them with lower insurance premiums. They estimated that if every state participated in the Medicaid expansion program there would be over 1.7 million African-Americans who would be eligible for free or low-cost healthcare through government programs such as Medicaid.

One of the biggest problems with not having health insurance is that people are less likely to get the care that they need because they cannot afford the medical bills that come with it. This could lead to an early death or the development of other illnesses.

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1 Comment

  1. I agree with the article. I have been to numerous doctors who cannot “properly” diagnose me and leave me to deal with chronic pain day in and day out.

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