As a nation, we must continue to prioritize high-quality health care for every American, regardless of age, race, or socioeconomic status. This takes on an acute importance when we consider disease prevention and management in an era of high rates of chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. From the checkups we get as children to the prescription medicines that help us stay healthy throughout our lives, there can never be any wavering on our commitment to every citizen’s health and well-being.
For minority communities, the stakes have never been higher. According to the most recent report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Latinos and African-Americans have health outcomes that are 30 to 40 percent poorer than white Americans. For African Americans, in particular, the stark reality is that a host of chronic diseases are more prevalent and are shortening more lives than is the case among their Caucasian counterparts.
That’s why policymaking in the health care sphere has to move in a direction that closes this health outcomes gap, and takes great care not to make these disparities even worse. We’ve seen some positives in this respect through the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, expansion of community-based education and awareness initiatives, and ongoing medical advances. (Morning Consult)