The Wealth of Health

The United States spends more than any other nation in the world on health care – in 2007 we spent $2.2 trillion. Despite consistent increases in spending, disparities among demographic groups persist. Low-income Americans and racial and ethnic minorities experience disproportionately higher rates of disease, fewer treatment options, and reduced access to care.

Health Care Disparities: A Case for Closing the Gap

The issue of health care reform and the inequalities related to accessing adequate health care has taken a front seat in political debate since the economic downturn in 2008. Unfortunately, this has been a debate that has polarized most of the American people. It is a deep-rooted issue but the disparities are becoming more and more evident.

America’s health care system needs to be completely transformed.

Since President Barack Obama has taken office, small changes ameliorating the discrimination that exists for Black people, Latinos and low-income families have begun but there is still a long road ahead to decreasing inequalities in health care. The government report Health Care Disparities: The Case for Closing the Gap expands on these inequalities,

Racial and ethnic minorities have the highest rates of debilitating disease such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, and AIDS. One of the most glaring disparities is apparent in the African American community, where 48% of adults suffer from a chronic disease compared to 39% of the general population.

Healthcare cartoonI see and feel these discrepancies in my own life on a daily basis. As a single female who supports myself financially, it is a struggle to make monthly health insurance payments, which have gone from $62 a month to $115 a month over the course of 3 years. I constantly teeter on the edge of not being able to afford it and I know there are many families that cannot manage that bill. Of course, without it I become just as vulnerable as millions of other Americans.

The biggest issue with health care reform is that most people can be easily be confused by the nonstop rhetoric we hear on the media and become overwhelmed with the amount of information that is available on the topic. This YouTube video, “Health Reform Hits Main Street” is a great resource to see the issues condensed and easily explained. It is only when we educate ourselves on these important issues that we can know our rights, form opinions and fight to end the inequalities that plague the American health care system.

To learn more about health care reform or ways to get involved, check out these websites:

  • Occupy Healthcare – This website serves as a location where the community can come to discuss healthcare. A place where meaningful healthcare issues can be raised and worked on together.
  • Consumer Reports – This guide buying health insurance helps you learn what good insurance looks like, which kind is best for you, how to select a good plan and how to get the most out of it. You can also find out what’s new in Medicare, Medicaid, and health reform.
  • The Kaiser Family Foundation – This nonpartisan research think-tank has set up a page devoted to helping you understand the ins and outs of the Affordable Care Act.

by Lacy Davis

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1 Comment

  1. David tapper

     /  May 7, 2013

    Affordable healthcare for all americans will come at a price, but in the long run of health throughout our lives, it is a sound investment. I cannot stand the media, and the political spin that they take on the issues. It is here to stay, we need to as a society make this work, because if we look at this as a progressive system to lift the overall health of the country, it is going to have a huge positive effect for everyone. Remember; all things come at a cost, and healthcare is not exempt! In the short term you may pay more, but when you need a visit to the hospital for an emergency or a life saving transplant, remember this system will provide you the ability to avoid lifelong debt.



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