Health Policy & Advocacy
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
U.S. Gun Violence Rates Jumped 30% During PandemicMandates, Not Recommendations, Work Best to Get Folks Vaccinated: StudyU.S. Has Shared 200 Million Shots With Other CountriesLittle Change Seen in Americans' Use of Mental Health Services During PandemicWomen Doctors Face Higher Levels of Harassment, Frustration: SurveyEPA Plans New Strategy Against PFAS 'Forever Chemicals'State Spending on Poverty Really Pays Off for Kids: StudyState Lotteries Didn't Help Boost Vaccination RatesVaccinated Foreign Travelers Can Enter United States Beginning Nov. 8Despite Pressures of Pandemic, U.S. Nursing School Enrollment ClimbsBiden Administration to Invest $100 Million to Ease Health Worker ShortageFDA Warns Against Using At-Home Dermal Filler 'Pens'Death Threats, Trolling Common for Scientists Who Speak to Media About COVID'Extreme Heat' Days Have Tripled Since 1980s, and More Are ComingAHA News: Are Monolingual Spanish Speakers More at Risk in the Pandemic?Your Free Cancer Screen Shows Trouble: What If You Can't Afford the Follow-Up?Bystanders Can Make the Difference for a Drowning ChildClimate Change is World's Most Pressing Health Problem: WHOAHA News: Another Barrier for Black and Hispanic People: Good Mental Health CareU.S. to Buy $1 Billion Worth of Rapid COVID TestsNearly 200,000 COVID Home Tests Recalled Over False PositivesMedical Mistrust Fuels Vaccine Hesitancy Among HispanicsAmericans Divided on Biden's Vaccine Mandate, Poll FindsAir Pollution Linked to 6 Million Premature Births in 1 YearDelay in Graphic Warning Labels on Cigarettes Cost Lives: StudyAHA News: Women May Be More Willing Than Men to Donate OrgansEPA to Sharply Limit Refrigerant Production in New Climate RuleAHA News: Food Insecurity's Long-Term Health ConsequencesU.S. to Buy 500 Million More COVID Vaccine Doses for Global DonationNIH Spending Nearly $470 Million on Long-Haul COVID StudyCOVAX Cuts Global COVID Vaccine Supply Estimates By a QuarterFDA Bans Sale of Nearly a Million E-Cigarettes; Allows Juul to Remain on MarketMore Affordable Housing, Healthier Hearts?Biden to Strengthen Push for Vaccine Mandates in New COVID PlanU.S. COVID Vaccination Rates Climb in AugustGreener Neighborhoods Bring Healthier Hearts, Study ShowsU.S. to Be Removed From E.U. Safe Travel ListFDA Tells Three Small E-Cigarette Makers to Stop Selling Flavored ProductsFratelli Beretta Antipasto Trays Are the Source of Salmonella Outbreak: CDCHow Your Medicines Make Their Way Into Rivers, Lakes and BaysFamily Behind Oxycontin Denies Any Responsibility for Opioid CrisisCommon Pesticide to Be Banned Over Links to  Problems in ChildrenFar Too Few People of Color in U.S. Pancreatic Cancer TrialsRace-Based Disparities in Americans' Health Haven't Improved: StudyChild Injuries, Deaths Spur Recall of 10 Million Magnet Balls, CubesAmericans Have High Trust in Health Care Providers: PollBreaded, Raw Chicken Recalled in Multi-State Salmonella OutbreakU.S. Military Members Must Get COVID Vaccine by Mid-September6 Tips on Getting Back to Your Regular Doctor's CheckupNursing Home Staff Closest to Patients Are Least Likely to Get COVID Vaccines
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Health Insurance
Healthcare

Race-Based Disparities in Americans' Health Haven't Improved: Study

HealthDay News
by By Amy Norton HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Aug 17th 2021

new article illustration

TUESDAY, Aug. 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- In a paradoxical finding, new research reveals that more Americans of color have access to health insurance now than they did 20 years ago, but their perceptions of their health status have not improved at all.

The study, published Aug. 17 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, paints a sobering picture.

In the bit of good news, researchers found that between 1999 and 2018, the percentages of Black, Hispanic and Asian Americans who lacked health insurance shrank. The decrease appeared largely related to the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), which expanded many states' Medicaid programs.

Then there was the other side: Despite gains in health insurance, the high cost of health care remained a major problem for Americans of all races. In fact, it worsened in at least one respect: More Americans in 2018 were skipping medical care because it cost too much.

And when it came to self-reported health, minorities said they were no better off in 2018 than they were two decades ago.

"I think this is an enormous wake-up call," said senior researcher Dr. Harlan Krumholz, a professor at Yale School of Medicine, in New Haven, Conn.

"We're not getting a return on our investment in health care spending," he said. "The health of the nation is not improving. And there's been no discernible progress in closing health disparities."

The findings are based on over 596,000 U.S. adults who took part in a periodic federal health survey between 1999 and 2018.

In 1999, low-income Black Americans were the group most likely to rate their health as "poor" or "fair," with 29% saying so. That compared with roughly 6% of middle- to high-income white adults.

By 2018, those figures had barely budged, the study found. Similarly, there was no significant change in the percentage of Hispanic and Asian Americans who rated their health as poor to fair, regardless of income.

"In those metrics, we're not making an iota of difference," Krumholz said.

One change was noticeable, and went in the wrong direction: Low-income white Americans reported poorer health in 2018 than 1999 — bringing them in line with Black Americans of similar income.

It all played out while health insurance coverage actually improved. In 1999, more than one-quarter of Hispanic Americans, and 14% of both Black and Asian Americans were uninsured; by 2018, those figures had improved in all groups — though racial disparities remained.

Obamacare helped more low-income Americans get insurance by expanding Medicaid, said Alexander Ortega, a professor at Drexel University's School of Public Health, in Philadelphia.

But, he pointed out, not all states took part in Medicaid expansion, and the ones that didn't tended to be poorer states in the South.

Plus, Ortega said, "having health insurance is just one piece of the puzzle."

On the financial side, health insurance does not necessarily make medical care affordable, said Ortega, who co-authored an editorial published with the study.

That was clear in the findings: In 2018, more Americans — of all races — said they'd skipped medical care or prescriptions in the past year because of costs, versus 1999. The highest rates were among low-income Black and white adults, with one-fifth to one-quarter saying they'd forgone medical care.

Even when people have insurance, Krumholz said, the monthly premiums, co-payments and other "cost-sharing" can be a financial strain.

As for people's health ratings, the study found, racial disparities remained stubbornly persistent over time. And the number of Americans, across racial groups, reporting "functional limitations" — difficulty with routine physical tasks — rose over the years.

Good health depends on much more than health insurance, Ortega said: Having high-quality health care is key, as are the "social determinants of health."

If people are stressed about paying the rent and bills, cannot afford healthy food and have no safe places for exercise, Ortega said, it's tough to feel and be well.

As that all implies, there's no easy solution, according to Krumholz. The United States pours money into medical interventions after people become sick or disabled, he noted — and that's not improving Americans' health.

"It's time for a wholesale reassessment of our system," Krumholz said.

More information

HealthCare.gov has resources for finding health insurance.

SOURCES: Harlan Krumholz, MD, professor, medicine, director, Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; Alexander Ortega, PhD, professor, health policy, director, Center for Population Health and Community Impact, Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health, Philadelphia; Journal of the American Medical Association, Aug. 17, 2021, online




Facebook

Amazon Smile

 

Children and Adult services are available now with no wait time.  

Please contact HBH at 860-548-0101, option 2.

 


powered by centersite dot net