Racial Disparities in Health Care: The New Frontier for Civil Rights

NPQ: 8/27/13

On the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, the evolution of civil rights in the U.S. has vaulted healthcare to the forefront of issues enveloped in this nation’s persistent racial disparities. Among the empirically verifiable indicators of healthcare disparities one finds evidence that doctors consistently refer black patients to lower-quality hospitals, that black men are more than twice as likely to die of prostate cancer than white men, that blacks are more than twice as likely as whites to have diabetes, that infant mortality rates for blacks are 1.5 to three times as high as for whites, that there are significantly higher rates of advanced breast cancer diagnoses among blacks, that limb amputations are more than 4.7 times as likelyamong black patients than white patients, and many more. While some of these disparities might also be related to income, education, and geography, the disparities consistently show up as lower healthcare outcomes for blacks. Read more