It is tempting to believe that the problems of racism and inequity in health care are most serious outside of Massachusetts. But the data tells a different story, as noted in a recent report released by the Center for Health Information and Analysis (“Some are admitted to hospitals more often: Data finds disparities between black and Hispanic patients,” Metro, August 23). Such findings help explain the disparities seen in health outcomes. A recent report from the Boston Public Health Commission compares Roxbury and Back Bay found a 23-year difference in life expectancy, and another from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation found that Economic burden of health disparities The total income loss experienced by Black, Hispanic/Latino and Asian populations in Massachusetts was an astonishing $5.9 billion per year.
Permanent, comprehensive solutions to structural racism require changes to our policies and systems. In this direction, the Health Equity Compact, a group of health and public health leaders of color, has put forward An Act to Advance Health Equity. This builds on Massachusetts’ historical leadership in health care reform as the first state to pass the bill. universal insurance coverage (2006 onwards) payment reform (2012) to help keep costs under control. Time for the third step of the stool: Addressing the inequality and racism that pervades the system.
The Massachusetts Public Health Association is proud to work with a broad coalition in support of legislation that brings the promise of equitable change to the health care system within reach.
Massachusetts Public Health Association