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March 20, 2005

GOP: No Plan to Improve Black Health Care

The Republican Party has announced its firm view that there will be no improvement in black and latino health care in this country over the next thirty to seventy years. Discrimination in health care that leads to higher mortality rates and lower life expectancies among blacks and latinos will not be ended, GOP officials confidently announced.

This is the import of the GOP highlighting those mortality rates as a reason for blacks and latinos to support social security privatization.

Some might look at those higher death rates and see a crisis in racism in our medical system, but, no, the GOP thinks our priority should be leaving the racism in medical care alone, assume that those differential rates will continue, and just accomodate it with their plan to let Wall Street hijack the social security system.

Of course, even with present mortality rates, blacks for example receive a disproportionate share of survivor and disability benefits, so the actual differences in benefits between the races is quite low, and the progressive returns to poor people overall benefits blacks and latinos who are poorer on average than other groups.

But progressives should just be blasting the Bush administration for proposing slashes in Medicaid funding for the poor-- thereby contributing to the death rates among poor blacks and latinos that they are then cynically using as an excuse for privatization. I have more details on racism in the medical system and social security in this and this post from 2002, but a reminder of a couple of key findings:

  • Sixty-nine percent of whites are insured through their employers, compared with only 52 percent of blacks and 44 percent of Hispanics.
  • African Americans and Hispanic Americans are far more likely to rely on hospitals or clinics for their usual source of care than are white Americans.
  • The higher the percentage of blacks in a community, the more likely the hospital is to close. Of the more than 200 hospitals in black communities in the 1930s, only 12 were still operating in 1991.
  • Among preschool children hospitalized for asthma, only 7 percent of black and 2 percent of Hispanic children, compared with 21 percent of white children, are prescribed routine medications to prevent future asthma-related hospitalizations.
  • Whites are two to three times more likely to receive a kidney transplant than non-whites, and three times more likely to undergo bypass surgery.

  • So instead of planning to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on a privatized social security plan, maybe we should be spending that money to create more racial equity in the health care system?

    Posted by Nathan at March 20, 2005 07:51 AM