A "major reason" for racial health disparities in the U.S. is that the country lacks universal health care, George Halvorson, chair and CEO of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, writes in a Sacramento Bee opinion piece. "Universal coverage should be the next major civil rights issue for this country to face," he adds.
Minorities make up more than 50% of uninsured residents nationwide, Halvorson writes, adding, "That fact alone should make the need to cover everyone in America a pure ethical imperative." He says, "This issue is not about economics -- it is about equality."
According to Halvorson, chronic conditions, including diabetes, congestive heart failure and asthma, "drive 75% of our health care costs." He notes that data indicate "our minority populations have highly disproportionate levels of" these conditions. Universal health care would provide "an excellent opportunity to improve care," Halvorson writes.
Halvorson adds, "It's time to do the right thing" and "give all Americans, regardless of race, ethnicity, or income level, health care coverage -- in ways that will both finance care and improve it"
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation