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The Racial Divide in Healthcare

Measurable strides have taken place in healthcare coverage since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010. However, the continued high cost of many coverage options means that access to affordable health care is still a challenge for many Americans—mainly African Americans. The average family spends $8,200 (or 11 percent of family income) per year on health care premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. And for African Americans, the cost is almost 20 percent of their average household income. In addition, decades of poverty, segregation, environmental degradation, and racial discrimination contribute to other health inequities between races, including chronic conditions and poorer treatment outcomes. As a company, BCT Partners is dedicated to removing barriers that still exist within housing, economic development, and healthcare and increasing awareness of the issues. The statistics below highlight some of the most glaring health disparities.

Health coverage

  • 10.6 percent of African Americans and 16.1 percent of Hispanics were uninsured compared with 5.9 percent of non-Hispanic whites.

Chronic health conditions

  • 13.8 percent of African Americans and 10% of Hispanics reported having fair or poor health compared with 8.3 percent of non-Hispanic whites.

  • Eighty percent of African American women are overweight or obese compared to 64.8 percent of non-Hispanic white women.

  • 21.5 percent of Hispanic adults over age 20 have been diagnosed with diabetes compared with 13 percent of white adults over age 20.

  • Approximately 25 percent of Hispanics have high blood pressure.

  • Forty-two percent of African American adults over age 20 suffer from hypertension compared with 28.7 percent of non-Hispanic white adults.

  • Hispanic women are 40 percent more likely to have cervical cancer and 20 percent more likely to die from cervical cancer than non-Hispanic white women.

  • In 2017, 12.6 percent of African American children had asthma compared with 7.7 percent of non-Hispanic white children.

Mental health

  • In 2018, 8.7 percent of African American and 8.8 percent of Hispanic American adults received mental health services compared with 18.6 percent of non-Hispanic white adults.

  • 6.2 percent of African American and 6.8 percent of Hispanic adults received prescription medication for mental health services compared with 15.3 percent of non-Hispanic white adults.

Leading causes of death

  • African Americans have the highest mortality rate for all cancers combined compared with any other racial and ethnic group.

  • There are 11 infant deaths per 1,000 live births among Black Americans compared with 5.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births among Hispanics and 5.8 infant deaths per 1,000 live births among white non-Hispanics.

  • In 2017, the infant mortality rate for Puerto Ricans was 40 percent higher than for non-Hispanic whites.

  • There are 5.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births among Hispanic and LatinX Americans.

While the statistics above are shocking, they represent challenges that affect many Americans across the U.S. However, the situation is even worse in the South due to the failure to expand Medicaid. The South is now home to the nation's sickest people and is where health disparities between whites and people of color are the most pronounced. Unequal access to Medicaid is especially prevalent in various southern states.

Another common issue that people of color often face is the shortage of health care providers. Due to residential segregation, African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to live in neighborhoods that lack hospitals and other health care providers. These areas are classified as medically underserved areas, and populations (MUA/Ps), and the people lack adequate access to primary care providers and mental health professionals.

So, as long as access to adequate care remains out of reach for many, we will never be able to recognize our society’s full potential. Primary healthcare is a fundamental right, and we must protect our most vulnerable citizens.

To find out more about BCT Partners services within the healthcare sector, click here.

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