Disparity in Health Care Between Blacks and Whites in the US

Decent Essays
In 1964 Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in which Title VI specifically forbade the distribution of federal funds to organizations that practiced discrimination. Enforcement of Title VI was a major priority within the Johnson administration as they implemented the Medicare program (Reynolds, 1997). Despite a mandate of equal treatment, significant patterns of segregated health care utilization have remained to the present. In an analysis of Medicare beneficiaries, Bach and colleagues found that their was a small proportion of physicians – 22% - who provided the majority of visits - 80% - by black patients (Bach, Pham, Schrag, Tate, & Hargraves, 2004). This may represent a pattern of racial concordance, patients choosing providers of their own race, but the physicians seeing the majority of black patients did not the same resources available as those seeing the majority of white patients. Compared with physicians seeing the mostly white patients, physicians seeing mostly black patients were 33% less likely to report always having access to high quality specialists, and 40% less likely to report always having access to high quality diagnostic imaging. In short, black patients are using a different health system than white patients on average and the health system black patients are using has fewer resources (Bach, et al., 2004). When considering the American medical system, it is clear that the policy solutions for disparities occurring outside the clinical encounter
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