Newspaper Editorials Offer Opinions About IOM Report on Racial Disparities in U.S. Health Care System
Newspaper editorials continue to weigh in on the recent Institute of Medicine report finding vast disparities among minorities and whites on several health measures even when they have similar incomes, insurance and health conditions. Summaries of four editorials appear below:
Washington Post: The report's "sobering conclusion ... demand[s] a strong response" by providers, medical schools and policy makers, the editorial states. It concludes that racial disparities in health care have "real consequences, including untold suffering and more deaths. A moral nation cannot let that stand" (Washington Post, 3/23).
Lexington Herald-Leader: The editorial calls the findings a "troubling insight" that offers a "wake-up call to the medical profession." It adds that the report should "sound broader alarms" and tells opponents of affirmative action to "take particular note," asking, "Can anyone honestly believe that doctors are more biased than those who hire or promote?" (Lexington Herald-Leader, 3/24).
Sacramento Bee: The report highlighted problems within the medical community that "need a cure," the editorial says. However, solutions to the problem of racial health disparities "must come at both ends of the doctor-patient relationship"; doctors must become more culturally aware and patients must be more proactive in recognizing and exercising their legal rights. "The health care system will never be perfect, but we should expect that it be colorblind," the editorial concludes (Sacramento Bee, 3/23).
- Santa Rosa Press Democrat: "It's doubtful that the bias [found in the IOM report] is intentional," the editorial states, noting that "most doctors wouldn't consider themselves or their colleagues racist." However, the report should "cause all physicians to review their own policies and practices with an eye to providing equal care for everybody -- regardless of skin color," the editorial concludes (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 3/23).