MINORITY CARE: Widespread Disparities Persist
Minorities lag behind whites on nearly every health indicator, including health care coverage, access to care, life expectancy and disease rates, according to study released Friday by The Commonwealth Fund. Entitled "U.S. Minority Health: A Chartbook," the report compiles the findings of several fund surveys, national data and new information, revealing that despite overall improvements in Americans' health, disparities persist across age, sex and income categories. "Lower rates of health insurance coverage means less access to care, higher infant mortality rates, greater rates of chronic and acute disease in adulthood -- and ultimately higher mortality rates for minority Americans," said Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund. The report "paints a stark picture" of the racial disparities in health care:
- 38% of Hispanic adults and 24% of black and Asian-American adults lack health insurance, compared with 14% of white adults.
- 46% of Hispanic adults and 39% of black adults report that they do not have a regular physician, compared with 26% of white adults.
- 43% of Hispanics and 41% of blacks over age 65 report that their health status is "fair or poor," compared with 23% of whites over age 65.
- 45% of Hispanic adults, 41% of Asian-American adults and 35% of black adults report difficulty paying for medical care, compared with 26% of white adults. In addition, Hispanic and black adults are nearly twice as likely as white adults to report having very little or no choice in where they go for medical care (Commonwealth Fund release, 5/14).
- 29% of Hispanic children and 19% of black children lack health insurance, compared with 11% of whites.