Different studies have been focusing on how racism has affected the health industry in the United States all over the years.
Will this term, under President Barack Obama pose positive changes, given that he is the first black president?
We have to remember American history to examine the trends of racism and how it affected the health industry of the United States.
The United States Census Bureau and the Federal Office of Management and Budget, define race as self-identification of a person or group of persons as a result of physical characteristics, geographic location and ancestry. Race has been used interchangeably with ethnicity, which refers to a larger categorization which includes the language, diet, religion and political factors.
Racism in Health Care
Based on ongoing studies, racism has existed throughout time. Researchers claim that medical and scientific behavior is affected by the ethos of the times, and they report on how colored people are treated in the country.
Many studies to date claim that Black Americans (the blacks who reside in America) and Caucasian Americans do not receive equivalent medical treatment. Worse yet, economic standing may not be directly the cause.
These studies state that Black Americans receive lesser expensive new technological treatment as compared to their white counterparts.
Factors that may affect equality in health care include:
- varying patterns of diseases
- patient’s preferences
- organizational and economic considerations
- contact with various doctors and medical specialists
- racial makeup of medical specialists
Blacks and Hispanics disproportionately suffer from a variety of conditions, such as diabetes, and often have less access to care as well.
Because of the unequal health care offered to racial or ethnic majority as compared to racial or ethnic minorities, the minorities do not achieve their full health potentials. Most treatments are more inclined to suit the needs of the racial majority, thus the needs of the minorities are not properly addressed.
There are also many alleged complaints that medical staff sometimes treat patients differently based on the racial origin of the patient. We see these sort of racial allegations more frequently involving the police or other authoritative groups, but now it is starting to leak over into health care.
A new study found that despite receiving fewer medical services and spending less on health care throughout most of their lives, ethnic minorities on average have higher costs in their last six months of life than do white patients.
Address the Needs of Minorities
For the US health industry to improve, steps should be taken to ensure that the needs of the minorities be addressed. Racial origin must not be considered an important part or a determinant of patient treatment in hospitals.
Minority physicians are valuable because they are more likely to practice medicine in under served communities and urban areas, and serve a higher percentage of Medicaid patients.
The fact that an Black American president sits in office gives us hope that a change in terms of racial inequality within the US health industry is on its way.
Let us all be conscious of the need for equality for minorities when we talk about health care in America.
But Not Necessarily Illegal Immigrants
Incidentally, I don’t feel the same way about illegal immigrants. People who are currently living in America illegally should be dealt with as if they are committing a crime, which they are.
Deportation is one solution (although not always the best or the right solution), but awarding them free health care is not.