Do Black Americans Receive Equality in Health Care?

Posted March 30, 2009 in Medical 13 Comments »
Black Doctor
Black Doctor

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.

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13 Responses to “Do Black Americans Receive Equality in Health Care?”

  1. This is a very much needed topic,that needs national awareness.I pride carrying myself mannerly, polite and respectfully towards every one.I am a humanitarian which usually causes me to see no color. Unfortunately, at times, it’s difficult to continue to see no color, because all the dentist that has abused me with terrible dental care,ongoing denial,legally stealing my money etc. has been white. I think if you are pleasant,they’ll treat you worst(weak-easy target?).There’s not enough repercussion in place to hold these people accountable for their wrong-doing,because I never see remorse when i attempt to speak with them. Something needs to be done to intercept their pay right away! Mediation needs to occur asap/48hrs. This is such a hugh problem that these professionals should be fined lots of money and donate it to organizations to help rectify abused dental victims. I understand, hate,ignorance has no color and that there are very good whites who also opposes this behavior. Maybe, they too can be a part of contributing to helping to hold these people responsible in some kind of way? These fines/donations/etc. can possibly be forwarded to the Patient Navigation Research Program directed by the center to reduce cancer health disparities(NCI)( patient navigator is a trained, culturally competent health care worker who works with patients, families, physicians and the health care system to ensure cancer patients needs are appropriately and effectively addressed. Ignorance of medical professionals contributes, and fuel ongoing divisions amongst the race. why? It leaves you with pain, hurt,disappointment and not wanting to trust no white persons-no where, not to mention a hugh dental bill. They deliberately make mistakes and make you pay for it as if it’s a game. I went to a dentist for a tiny cavity. He took almost a year to do one root canal on this tooth? I don’t think I needed a root canal. It was like he wanted to punish me, because he always made it where, I could still feel the drill. He’d say to me,I’m almost done,but he’d continue to drill? I told him what he did to me, and he said, he disagree. That’s it. No sympathy, empathy or apology. Finally I changed dentist,explained my trauma which he appeared to understand, but he turned out to be worst than the first. What he injected into my body(?) via the tooth xray or shot, made me awefully ill for weeks. I thought I was going to die. Now, As a matter of fact, I experience this in all faucets of life including the medical industry. “Scary”? It has prompted me to google disparity amongst african american in the medical industry, and I was shocked. Now,if there’s a next dentist,I will take empty glass bottles for them to give me all samples of what they are injecting into my body. If not, then, i won’t let them treat me.Also,this horrific experience has prompt me to research better nutrition for the teeth/body(as a whole).In spite of all this, i will never if i can help it, go to dentist/doctor if there are not a mixture of races(particularly)blacks. It’s really tough.My advice to african americans,please avoid being “guinea pigs”(like me),research!,research!,research!.Take a tape recorder with you?Better yet, get into natural,holistic nutrition etc. I now believe improving your health,implementing the right,specific supplements/etc might improve the strength of your bones and teeth.Take your insurance co-pays and try to put it to better use.Don’t take the risk.Google the dental horror stories from all races and then make your decision,but don’t be afraid to try something different. Some ignorant dentis will lure you, trick you,convince you to have all these unnessary costly procedures,put you into debt,start a procedure that will make you stay for the financila long-haul. Just Beware-and may God Bless you.

    • I agree there are some discrimination going on out there but to say that all white dentist are that way is not right. I almost got into an argument with my dentist because he kept demanding that I get some work done that I told him i could not afford. The work he did on me up to that point was medioker and I needed it done over again. From that story both of us are white but i think what it boils down to in this story is he is money hungry and dont care how any one of his patients are. I have a new dentist now who is a female and is great. yes i am a male.

      • I just had a similar experience with a dentist. This son of a bitch was extremely expensive; refused to help me out with any sort of payment plan for dental work; insisted that we had to do all of the work at once for over $10,000 when he could have done some of the work now and used a temporary fix that would have gotten us by until I could get the whole $10k; then he nearly pulled out the rest of a tooth that would have forced me to take out a loan to pay for an emergency implant, when he could have drilled out and packed the tooth, and given me a temporary insert that looks exactly like a real tooth. I’m actually about to post about this on the blog, so you’ll read about the whole story soon.

  2. I think everyone has the same rights in the matter what skin he is.he doesn’t choose where he want to born. so, there is no excuse to act racism

  3. No there are a lot of doctors / dentists that “practice” on Black people, because they hedge their best they can get away with it. Case in point, I had perfect teeth, the envy of everyone who met me. Some dentist told me I had multiple cavities in the back, so he drilled, for nearly and hour. The very next dentist asked me who had drilled on my teeth. I told him the story and he shook his head. Apparently, I had not had cavities and that dentist ruined my teeth, permanently. Every dentist I have seen since then, has said the same thing. [yes they have all been white, as was the first dentist]

    The stories are copious of racism in health care. Doctors not treating Black people complaining of illness, being told to “Go cut your Afro”.

    It is rather bad.

    • Yikes. That’s a horrible story. If it makes you feel any better I know a white woman who, as a little girl, had a dentist who was a drunk. He drilled her teeth all wrong too and caused her to have no less than 3 teeth pulled as an adult. To this day she still needs about $10k in dental work. Dentists can really ruin you if they suck. I am so sorry that this situation is that much worse for minorities.

    • yes! there are just too many stories about African American patients follow their appointments and medical regimens precisely to the doctors’ instructions; then are diagnosed with a form of late stage cancer. this is what i am interested in. is there a rise in this pattern?

  4. Yum:
    This is a huge factor in how many Caucasian folks respond to non-Caucasian folks. The whole idea of reverse racism is prevalent in our society today. If we could all respect each other and treat each other the way we want to be treated, everyone would be able to get along. Unfortunately there are far too many closed minded, angry, grudge-holding individuals in this world. Every one of them needs to sit down for a couple hours with the Dalai Lama to experience some enlightenment.
    Sorry, should have mentioned good post! Waiting on your next one!

  5. Yum:
    This is a huge factor in how many Caucasian folks respond to non-Caucasian folks. The whole idea of reverse racism is prevalent in our society today. If we could all respect each other and treat each other the way we want to be treated, everyone would be able to get along. Unfortunately there are far too many closed minded, angry, grudge-holding individuals in this world. Every one of them needs to sit down for a couple hours with the Dalai Lama to experience some enlightenment.

  6. Perhaps it is in the attitude of the person being treated that correlates to how the medical professional responds. (BTW, I am black)

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