Racism Is Our Real Health Crisis - And Response

Thursday, July 2, 2020

In his article Roy Exum said that  “This analysis shows that blacks had significantly lower educational attainment and home ownership and almost twice the proportion of households living below the poverty level and unemployed than whites in all age groups." Your quote also goes on to say "Such social factors are posited as “fundamental causes”.  So these social factors are the reason African Americans do not get the medical attention that they need. When it comes to annual physicals, holistic health care, prescription medication and God forbid going to an emergency room the cost outweighs the treatment.  

In her study: Racism, Inequality, and Health Care for African Americans, Jamila Taylor, director of health care reform, showed the following: The average American family spends around 11 percent of household income on health care premiums and out-of-pocket costs, but that amount approaches 20 percent for African American households.  Because African Americans tend to be poorer than other demographic groups on average, public health insurance programs such as Medicaid are vital to ensure affordable health care and healthier outcomes - yet 14 states have resisted Medicaid expansion, mostly in the South. Certain social determinants of health, such as poverty, income inequality, wealth inequality, food insecurity, and the lack of safe, affordable housing have important implications for health risk and the ability to attain health insurance coverage for African Americans. 

Another important social factor leading to poor health outcomes and economic disadvantage among African Americans is racism, because not only is it a stressor, leading to wear and tear on the body, but it also impacts who gets what in America, particularly health care.

So yes, Roy, this is our "Real" health crisis.

Lindsay Pace

Flintstone, Ga.

*  *  *

Dear Lindsay Pace, 

Our real health crisis is not knowing "Jesus Christ."   

Douglas Smith


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