Health Disparities Cause Financial Burdens for Families, Communities and Health Care System

A recent article published in America’s Wire discussed the scope of race-related health disparities and the financial implications for the U.S. health care system.

The article focuses on how racial and ethnic health care disparities can affect earning capacity within a household, which can have long-lasting adverse effects on the entire family, particularly children. In addition, where one lives is a significant contributor to the existence of racial-related health disparities, Thomas A. LaVeist, director of the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD, noted. “Where you live determines what schools your children get to attend… It also determines whether you are exposed to environmenta

l inequalities and the type of health care facility that is available to you,” LaVeist said. According to the study cited in the article, 30.6 percent of medical expenditures from 2003 to 2006 for blacks, Asians and Hispanics were costs due to health inequalities. For the same years, the findings also indicated $229.4 billion in direct medical costs and $1 trillion in indirect costs associated with illness and premature death could be reduced with the elimination of health disparities. The National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities noted that people of color are far more likely to lack health insurance. People of color make up roughly one-third of the U.S. population but more than half of the people who are uninsured, according to the article.

Sinsi Hernandez-Cancio, director of health equity at Families USA, noted that chronic disease is a major problem and that millions of dollars are spent battling preventable diseases, such as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. “We pay now or pay later. We’re going to be paying the price in higher health care costs, but also a population that is less healthy and unable to participate in the nation’s economic recovery,” said Smedley (Alleyne, 03/01).


Source: Kaiser’s March Update on Health Disparities (

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More about America’s Wire:

America’s Wire, a key proponent of the Maynard Media Center on Structural Racism (MMCSR), is funded under a grant awarded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Our goal is to provide to our subscribers comprehensive stories on the impact of structural racism in America. We hope this content will better inform Americans about communities of color and the many challenges that they continue to face from structural racism.


~ by Brendan Kober on March 29, 2012.

2 Responses to “Health Disparities Cause Financial Burdens for Families, Communities and Health Care System”

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Wow. More than half of the uninsured in the US are people of color.

  2. thanks for your fine post and for commenting on our blog. From my first health care job I was hit with the realization that insurance, money and lack of are factors you can’t get away from, much as we would like to simply do our jobs of helping people get well.

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