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The Ongoing Injustice of Racial Inequality in Health Care


Year in which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in a speech, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane”: 1966

Percent of the U.S. population that lacked health insurance in 1979: 8

By 2010, when Congress passed the Affordable Care Act: 18

Percent of U.S. whites who were uninsured in 2010: 12

Asians: 18

Blacks: 21

Latinos: 31

Percentage-point drop in the number of U.S. whites without insurance by 2012, after some ACA provisions took effect: 1

Asians: 3

Blacks: 2

Latinos: 2

Number of racial groups for which the drop in the uninsured was statistically significant: 0

Number of states, including nearly everyone in the South, that have chosen not to expand Medicaid to more low-income people* under ACA: 25

Number of people who will go without health insurance as a result: nearly 5 million

Percent of people who will fall through the 25-state coverage gap who are non-white: 53

Percent who are Latino: 21

Percent who are black: 27

Percentage points by which that figure exceeds black people’s representation in the U.S. population: 14

Number of times that poor blacks are more likely than poor whites to live in high-poverty neighborhoods that exacerbate health problems: 7.3

Percent more likely that black women who report being victims of racism are to develop breast cancer: 31

Number of years earlier, on average, that black women die than white women: 4.3

Number of years earlier, on average, that black men die than white men: 5.1

* Under ACA, states have the option of extending Medicaid coverage to those living below 138 percent of the poverty line, which is about $16,000 for an individual and $32,500 for a family of four.

(All of the figures in this report are from “Healthcare for Whom? Enduring Racial Disparities” by United for a Fair Economy.)

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