Institutional Racism and Racial Discrimination in the U.S. Health Care System

Topics: Health care, Health insurance, Health economics Pages: 4 (1448 words) Published: October 12, 2013
_________________________________________________________________________________________ Institutional Racism and Racial Discrimination in the U.S. Health Care System

Institutional racism and racial discrimination in the U.S. health care system has been part of a long continuum dating back over 400 years. After hundreds of years of active discrimination, efforts were made to admit minorities into the "mainstream" health system but these efforts were flawed. Colin Gordon in his book Dead on Arrival portrays a very strong stance towards this issue when he states, “The American welfare state has always been, at root, a Jim Crow welfare state – disdainful of citizenship claims of racial minorities, deferential to a southern-controlled Congress, and leery of the racial implications of universal social programs” (172). It is evident that throughout the history of U.S. health care that race has shaped health provisions in a number of ways, most noticeably in private and public health care institutions. Gordon throughout his books discusses the ways in which institutional racism, specifically in the field of healthcare, has manifested itself throughout history. One of the most prominent manifestations of institutional racism in the healthcare field comes to light when examining past (and sometimes present) policies regarding admission (to healthcare facilities) and discrimination of minorities. It is evident when observing the adoption, administration, and implementation of these policies in the past that they were purposefully constructed to be exclusive of minority citizens (specifically African Americans and Latinos). Gordon gives an example of such policies in 1939 under the Social Security reforms. In the formative years of the New Deal southerners in Congress pushed for and won for the exclusion of agricultural and domestic labor from coverage under the National Recovery, Agricultural Adjustment, Social Security, National Labor Relations, and Fair Labor...
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