Racial and Ethnic Health Care Disparities

Questions whether racial and ethnic health care disparities are really caused by insurance discrepancies and other patient-related factors.

This paper discusses potential causes of racial and ethnic health care disparities. It explores the antithesis that disparities are not insurance-related or related to a patient’s minority status. The paper rejects this antithesis and then asserts and provides evidence that, indeed, racial and ethnic health care disparities are due to insurance-related factors and the minority status of the patient.
Almost all industrialized countries in the world implement a health care system that is run on a national level thus providing health care equally to all citizens of the country. The United States is unique in that respect. The U.S. does not provide a federally run health care plan, and as a result, equality of health care among all citizens is not assured. In fact, an individual’s access to health care often is correlated to one’s socio-economic status, and in many situations, to one’s race or ethnic background (Luhman 2002). As of 2002, over 400 clinical studies on racial and ethnic health care have provided evidence showing that across almost all medical areas, minorities generally receive a lower quality of care than do whites (Late 2003).