$2.3T on Healthcare and 47M Uninsured – National Disgrace

Kaiser Permanente recently launched a series of advertisements that drive this message around health disparities home. It is (or should be) a concern for most of us.  Health outcomes and especially preventative care is driven by health literacy, our attitudes towards health, and our access to the healthcare system.  We should all be working with our families, our communities, and our country to try to make this better.

I am a firm believer that one of the best ways to start to manage cost is to find a viable strategy to get universal coverage.  The costs of emergency care and absenteeism all get passed on to us in one way or another.  And, as the government is the dominant payor of healthcare (Medicare, Medicaid), long term costs are a significant issue for our economy.  If there is a systemic way of improving it, we should seek that out.

So, a cause that is both moral and economical…what more do you need?

Today, more than 50 percent of Americans and 75 percent of Californians without health care coverage are people of color.  Uninsured men, women, and children are far more likely to get sick and forego care simply because they lack coverage.  This is a national disgrace. We spend 2.3 trillion dollars on care in this country. Securing health care coverage for every American is the next great civil rights issue of our time. We can and should achieve universal coverage.

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Some of the facts highlighted on their new website about disparities include:

  1. Disparities in health and health care impact everyone. African Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics are most affected.

  2. 27% of adults report having no usual source of care. African-American (28%), Hispanic (51%), and Asian (23%) adults are all more likely to report not having a usual doctor.

  3. Uninsured adults are disproportionately, young, and minorities; 82% are between 19-49 years of age, and 41% identified themselves as black, Hispanic, or other.

  4. American Indian and Alaskan Native death rates from sudden infant death syndrome are the highest of any population groups.

  5. Asian Americans have the highest tuberculosis case rates of any racial and ethnic population.

  6. During 1996-2000, Native Hawaiians were 2.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than non-Hispanic white residents of Hawaii of similar age.

  7. In 2005, African Americans accounted for 18,121 (49%) of the estimated 37,331 new HIV/AIDS diagnoses in a national poll which encompassed 33 states.

  8. 21.9% of U.S. children live in poverty, far and away the worst in the industrialized world. Comparable figures for the Nordic countries are 4.2% and less.

  9. Adults who have not finished high school are almost two times more likely than college graduates to be obese.

To learn more about the topic, you can go to their community of information.

One Response to “$2.3T on Healthcare and 47M Uninsured – National Disgrace”

  1. I saw somewhere that of 47m uninsured, 41% identified themselves as Black. That would be around 19 or 20 million. Does that mean that Congress (mostly White) are willing to let nearly 28 million white people go without health insurance? This also would mean that only 1/3 of 30 million Black people have health insurance. Can this be true?

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