Disparities in Health Care

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Disparities in Health Care
Thanks to medical advances and advanced preventative care, Americans are living longer and healthier than ever. However, these benefits don't seem to apply to everyone equally because a great disparity exists. Not a disparity based on access or clinical needs, preferences, or appropriateness of intervention, but a racial and ethnic disparity that divides on socioeconomic lines. When all medical care being accessed and administered is considered equal, the poor and racial minorities suffer the most with inadequate insurance coverage, higher incidences of illness, and culturally shaped attitudes that impact and lessen their quality of life. Socioeconomic status is a measure of an individual or family's relative economic and social ranking (Socioeconomic status,” n.d.). Differences in education, income and occupation affect the socioeconomic status of African Americans. When compared, a lower percentage of African Americans had earned at least a high school diploma than non-Hispanic whites. According to the 2007 Census Bureau report, the average African-American family median income was $33,916 in comparison to $54,920 for non-Hispanic white families. In 2007, the U.S. Census bureau reported that 24.5% of African Americans in comparison to 8.2% of non-Hispanic whites were living at the poverty level. In 2007, the unemployment rate for African Americans was twice that for non-Hispanic whites (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008)

The national healthcare disparities report (NHDR) identifies the differences or gaps where some populations receive poor or worse care than others and to track how these gaps are changing over time. Although the emphasis is on disparities related to race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, this report also examines disparities in “priority populations.” These include groups with unique health care needs or issues that require special attention. Among the priority populations addressed in the...
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