Two new studies released on Tuesday showed a breakdown of health care spending per person, and both—published in the Journal of the American Medical Association—found that White people spent the most per-person.
Here’s one study’s conclusions from a team at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, according to CNN:
“White individuals received an estimated 15% more spending on ambulatory (outpatient) care than the all-population mean,” the team wrote. Black people received 26% less spending than the all-population mean on ambulatory care but received 19% more on inpatient and 12% more on emergency department care, they added. “Hispanic individuals received an estimated 33% less spending per person on ambulatory care than the all-population mean.”
These numbers “suggest that Black individuals may lack access to the ambulatory care that can play a critical role in prevention,” the IHME team wrote.
“The US is consistently the wealthiest country in the world with subpar levels of coverage for a core set of health services; these findings provide additional evidence of the need to reduce disparities,” they concluded.
The second study found that over the past two decades, there’s been virtually no change in the disparities between white people and people of color when it comes to healthcare spending.
In surveys of nearly 600,000 people from 1999 to 2018, a team at Yale University found that Black people consistently had the highest rates of self-reported poor health. They concluded that despite policies designed to address healthcare inequity and an increase in overall healthcare spending, the health of White people has remained better in comparison to other groups. “Structural factors in US society, including systemic racism and barriers associated with citizenship status, can contribute to such inequities,” they wrote.
So what can be done to help this? In 2020, Biden ran on a platform to build on the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) in order to aid communities of color. Currently, Democrats are in the process of getting out numerous healthcare policies and legislation.
But for now? Dr. George Mensah, senior adviser with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health, says, “One of the lessons we’ve learned is we need to stop thinking of always finding ways to tell patients, ‘go to the doctor,’ tell patients ‘go to the clinic.’”