Government report finds they have higher incidence of illness, fewer options for care,,
TUESDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Minority and low-income Americans are much more likely to suffer from a chronic, debilitating illness than whites and are far less likely to have the kind of coverage that would ensure quality care, according to a new report issued Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
For example, nearly half (48 percent) of black adults suffer from some form of chronic condition compared to 39 percent of adults generally, the report found, and one in every five black Americans lacks health insurance, compared to one in every eight whites.
"Minorities and low-income Americans are more likely to be sick and less likely to get the care they need," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in an agency news release. "These disparities have plagued our health system and our country for too long."
Despite spending $2.2 trillion on health care in 2007 alone, there are still big gaps in the care of white and minority patients as well as rich and poor patients, the HHS report noted.
Some of the other findings from the new report:
Much of these disparities come back to a gap in access to health care coverage, the report noted. Among low-income Americans, 4 out of 10 people lack health insurance. In fact, half of America's 46 million uninsured are poor, the HHS report found.
One-third of the uninsured have a chronic illness and they are six times more likely to go without needed care for that condition compared with those who have insurance.
There's more on health disparities at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
-- E.J. Mundell
SOURCES: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, news release, report, June 9, 2009
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