Racism and Health Care Disparity

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Is Racism the cause of Health care disparity? In recent discussions of health care disparities, a controversial issue has been whether racism is the cause of health care disparities or not. On one hand, some argue that racism is a serious problem in the health care system. From this perspective, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) states that there is a big gap between the health care quality received by minorities, and the quality of health care received by non-minorities, and the reason is due to racism. On the other hand, however, others argue that health care disparities are not due to racism. In the words of Sally Satel, one of this view’s main proponents, “White and black patients, on average don’t even visit the same population of physicians” (Satel 1), hence this reduces the chances of racism being the cause of health care disparities. According to this view, racism is not a serious problem in the health care system. In sum, then, the issue is whether racism is a major cause of health care disparities as the Institute of Medicine argues or racism is not really an issue in the health care system as suggested by Sally Satel. According to the institute of Medicine (IOM), racism is a problem in the health care system, that is, the difference between the quality of health care received by minorities and non-minorities is due to racism. IOM is a nonprofit organization that advises the federal government and the public on science policy. It released a report that on average, minorities receive a lower quality of care, even when factors such as income and type of health insurance are accounted for. The report by IOM states that racial stereotypes and prejudice are the cause of the health care disparities. The article by IOM points ... ... middle of paper ... ...that Satel needs to do more research. For example, in her article, she mentions that Primary-care physicians who lack board certification and who encounter obstacles to specialized services are more likely to practice in areas where blacks receive their care—namely, poorer neighborhoods, as measured by the median income, but she doesn’t back it up with research. Although some may object that health care is color blind and that doctors do their best to administer health care proportionately, I would reply that racism plays a role in the health care disparities. Racism has always been an issue and there is no way people can reject that fact. This issue is important because the health care disparity gap is large and something needs to be done about it. As IOM said, people need to be aware of what is going on so as to take appropriate steps in order to break the gap.

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