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Lower income women report more insurance-based discrimination during pregnancy, delivery
Date:12/4/2009

The survey did not ask detailed questions about the nature of the discrimination, but Thorburn was able to draw more out of the data. For instance, women with employer health insurance who reported insurance-based discrimination reported much less breastfeeding support in the hospital. In addition, Hispanic women, regardless of income level, were much less likely to report insurance-based discrimination than other women.

Thorburn said there were a variety of issues with the survey. No details on the nature of women's experiences were collected, so the researchers did not have much insight into the nature of the discrimination. In addition, the Oregon Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System stopped collecting data on discrimination after 2001, so more recent data is not available.

Thorburn said researchers are just beginning to scratch the surface on this topic.

"There is a huge body of research out there on the health care disparities based on race and ethnicity, for instance," she said. "But what there isn't a lot of data on is the nature of discriminatory experiences in the health care setting. I am also really interested in how people respond to these experiences. Does it affect health outcomes? Do they stop going to the doctor or change their behavior in some way?

"We don't really have a grasp on that yet."


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Contact: Sheryl Thorburn
sheryl.thorburn@oregonstate.edu
541-737-9493
Oregon State University
Source:Eurekalert

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