California’s Minorities Lack Health Care, PPIC Reports Finds
African Americans and Hispanics in California have less access to health care than other racial and ethnic groups, according to a Public Policy Institute of California report released yesterday. Titled A Portrait of Race and Ethnicity in California: An Assessment of Social and Economic Well-Being, the report focuses on racial and ethnic disparities in Californians' socioeconomic status, including indicators such as health outcomes. The study found that African-American and Hispanic adults were less likely to have insurance than white and Asian adults. In addition, African-American and Hispanic women were less likely to receive adequate prenatal care than their white and Asian counterparts. African-American and Hispanic children also were less likely to be up-to-date on immunizations, compared to white and Asian children. However, the report notes that these overall trends do not reflect "important differences in the health of different Hispanic and Asian subgroups." For example, people of Southeast Asian and Filipino descent have poor health outcomes compared to Japanese, Chinese and Koreans. Mexicans have better birth outcomes than other Hispanic groups, but also have comparatively poor access to health services such as prenatal care (A Portrait of Race and Ethnicity in California: An Assessment of Social and Economic Well-Being, 2/22).
Immigration status also has an effect on health outcomes, as many immigrants face unique barriers to access and insurance. Susan Casillas, Healthy Families outreach coordinator in San Joaquin County, noted that working Hispanic immigrants who are unable to afford private health insurance will "wait years to seek care because they don't want to be labeled as public charges." Casillas said, "We run into problems every day" (Davidow, Stockton Record, 2/22). To access the PPIC report online, go to http://www.ppic.org/publications/Portrait/index.html.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.