Social Justice in African American Healthcare Discussion
The healthcare system in America is disproportionately unjust against African Americans and other minorities. The problem of health inequality for African Americans is a two-pronged problem that impacts negatively on the health outcomes for this demographic group. One of the critical problems African Americans experience is the challenge of access to medical care. Secondly, the medical care that African Americans receive is of poor quality compared to the care given to other demographic groups. The limitations African Americans face concerning medical care creates deep economic challenges that have adverse consequences. This paper discusses social justice for African Americans based on the chosen article: Racism, Inequality, and Health Care for African Americans by Jamila Taylor.
The Challenges of Health Care for African Americans
The Economic Policy Institute asserts that African Americans have made great strides in the improvement of their lives. For example, African Americans have made great strides in areas such as education. However, the institute asserts that there are two areas that this demographic group lag behind other races in America- health and wealth. Concerning wealth, just 40% of African Americans are homeowners. Secondly, African Americans are still paid much lower than their white counterparts doing the same job (Dickman et al., 2018). Concerning health care, African Americans face numerous challenges such as accessibility to healthcare, low-quality care, and low insurance coverage among others.
The article Racism, Inequality, and Health Care for African Americans asserts that insurance coverage is one of the critical challenges for African Americans in accessing health care. The introduction of Medicaid has improved health coverage for African Americans, especially for older adults. However, the program has some limitations which pose challenges for blacks to access quality care (Taylor, 2019). For example, Medicaid does not cover some needs such as long-term care, dental care, and prescription drugs. Still, the program does not cater for some out-of-pocket medical bills such as one-day inpatient care and physician charges. These expenses are substantial and not many African Americans can afford them because of their low household income. This is the reason why there is high morbidity for beneficiaries of Medicaid in African Americans compared to other demographic groups.
Concerning the quality of care, African Americans are less likely to receive full medical care than their white counterparts. For the 16 common hospital procedures, African Americans are likely to only receive four non-elective procedures only. This means that for some important procedures such as many surgical operations, blacks must pay from their own pockets. These out-of-pocket payments cost African Americans 20% of their average incomes-which is a huge expense considering the considerably low wages earned by this demographic group (Taylor, 2019). Despite earning less than white Americans, African Americans still have to pay more money for medical care from their pockets. This is to blame on poor insurance coverage for this group that covers only a few medical care needs. Still, some states have very low Medicaid coverage or health care providers which makes it extremely difficult for African Americans to access health care.
Disparities in health outcomes are another major challenge for African Americans. The significant improvement in insurance coverage has increased to medical care for African-Americans (Yearby, 2018). This improvement has also led to better health outcomes for colored people. For example, due to improved health outcomes, African Americans today enjoy early diagnosis and the treatment of some cancer diseases. Despite these improvements, the disparity in health conditions between blacks and whites is still wide. This disparity means African Americans still have the highest rate of heart diseases, infant mortality, maternal mortality, and other chronic health conditions.
How I will Address these Challenges
As a future DNP, I will take some steps to improve the health outcomes of African Americans. One of the things that I have the power to change is to curb the problem of unequal treatment by tackling negative stereotypes. There is a lot of discrimination done consciously or unconsciously towards African Americans. I will ensure that I do not participate in any form of discrimination and I will also influence my peers to do the same. If all DNPs avoided discrimination towards African Americans, then there will be a reduction in the systematic bias leading to quality care for all demographic groups in America. I will also work with community groups that promote equality in health care for every group in the United States. Working together with such groups and the communities may put pressure on the government to address the social injustices on health for African Americans.
Despite major improvements in health outcomes, African Americans are still disadvantaged in many ways in terms of medical care. One of the problems for this demographic group is low health coverage that impacts health care accessibility for African Americans. In some states, Medicaid coverage is extremely poor, the problem is further exacerbated by the poor distribution of healthcare providers in some states. Compared to whites, African Americans have to pay for many medical procedures from their pockets due to coverage issues. This factor means that colored people spend more money on medical care compared to other groups despite earning lowers wages.
- Dickman, S. L., Himmelstein, D. U., & Woolhandler, S. (2017). Inequality and the health-care system in the USA. The Lancet, 389(10077), 1431-1441. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0140-6736(17)30398-7
- Taylor, J. (2019). Racism, inequality, and health care for African Americans. The Century Foundation. Accessed April 10th From https://tcf.org/content/report/racism-inequality-health-care-african-americans/?agreed=1
- Yearby, R. (2018). Racial disparities in health status and access to healthcare: the continuation of inequality in the United States due to structural racism. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 77(3-4), 1113-1152. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajes.12230