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Healthcare Disparities in the United States

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HEALTHCARE DISPARITIES IN THE UNITED STATES

ELIJAH HUGHES

EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY

10-15-2014


        As we all know, there are a lot of issues that goes in the healthcare. Some relates to public health issues. An example for a public health issue can be informing people to practice safe sex. Other examples of health care issues are, Scope of practice, torts, negligence and liabilities. Although these are major issues, there is another issue that just seems to go unnoticed. This issue is called health care disparity.

        Health care disparity is differences in access to or availability of facilities and services. In other words some people can get access to certain services and some can’t. Take these two for example. Two people break a body part. One person stay in a rural area while the other stays in a more suburban area. The person who stays in the suburban area is going to have more access to a facility or service than the person who stays in the rural area because there are more emergency centers and other services than in the rural area.  In this paper, the following will be discussed about disparities:

  1. How it’s wrong
  2. How it effects certain aspects of health
  3. Study Analysis/research
  4. Ways to prevent Disparities.

Wrong

Thousands of individuals die unnecessarily from diseases that could’ve easily been prevented. In order to approach this problem, we must attack all problems of health: access to care, behavior, social and physical environments, and overriding policies of universal access to care, physical education in schools, and restricted exposure to toxic substances. Disparities are among different racial and ethnic groups in the U.S are real and represent a serious threat to the future as a nation. Access accounts for 15% to 20% of the morbidity and mortality rates. Other determinants are environment, biology, and human behavior. (Satcher, D., & Higginbotham, E. 2008).

Disparities are also wrong coming from an ethical standpoint of view. These consequences often trouble and further support the claim that they are wrong. In order to establish whether the disparities are wrong, we must demonstrate that the existences are problematic. When dealing with this from an ethics point of view, several ethical theories can be applied to show that disparities are unfair and problematic. Rawls natural duties promote institutions, condemn unjust institutions and avoid doing harm to others offers a direct way to argue against disparities. Utilitarianism is another ethic principle that argues against disparity. Utilitarianism argues to make sure that the good outweighs the bad. When taking a look at disparity, it involves harm to a large group of individuals that isn’t displaying utilitarianism. Health disparities also contradicts moral principles like beneficence plays a role as well. Individuals are not benefited leading the principle to be violated. Non-maleficence is also being violated because disparities cause a significant harm in the forms of poor health, pain & suffering, and shorter life spans. (Jones, C. 2010).

Aspects of Different areas of health.
        Disparities affect areas of health and health services such as, trauma centers, patients with cancer and patients with asthma.

Even though the subject of proper access to trauma centers remain an issue, another question is if trauma centers across the nation are providing the right quality and level of service to the seriously injured patients. Although homicide rates have declined during the 1990s, the disparities in outcome have not been eliminated. Homicide remains the highest among black children no matter what the age is. Institutional and health system related factors, mainly the ones located in poor neighborhoods serve a higher proportion of minority patients. The quality of care provided and the physiologic status of the patient will play a role in the outcome of a patient. Reasons for some variations in outcome remains unclear. Some could be related to the heterogeneity of patients by payer mix or inconsistent practice patterns. Other issues at public hospitals include staff shortage, strict budgets, and no capital or technical support.( Danner, O., Matthews, L., Wilson, K., & Heron, S. 2012).

One of the main issues that disparities and cancer relates to one another is because of health insurance. The reason why is because coverage is inadequate for minority populations, mainly the economically disadvantaged. One way that the cancer care can eliminate disparity is if cancer is early detected in patients who are in the lower class. One disturbing issue is that the outcome of cancer treatment isn’t based on delays. It can be based upon inferiority of medical services in unprivileged areas. Measurement of disparities in cancer care would be reflected in outcomes such as national incidence and mortality figures. It’s evident that minority populations have a higher total incidence of cancer and a high death rate. Some solutions have been brought up such as collecting funds for research in disparities of cancer care. Also, the NCI enforces the requirement of minority to participate in clinical trials. (Raghavan, D. 2012).

Asthma affects all ethnic groups. However, the burden from this disease is disproportionately shared by certain minority groups and people who are economically disadvantaged. Asthma mortality rates in children and adults are nearly eightfold and threefold higher, respectively, in non-Hispanic blacks than in non-Hispanic whites. Inner-city residents and minority groups are often exposed to increased violence and will more than likely experience more psychosocial stress which has been proven to increase asthma morbidity rates. Studies shows that racial ancestry influence ethnic disparities in asthma. African Americans and Puerto Ricans both have contain a significant proportion of African ancestry and both have a high burden from lung diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The most important step to get rid of asthma disparities would be to implement and enforce policies increasing access to healthcare for children and adults no matter their ethnicity or socioeconomic status (SES).  New and ongoing policies should aim at the community level, such as improving asthma education and housing conditions, and reducing detrimental EL exposures in addition to trying to improve the healthcare for all. Examples of the detrimental EL exposures include, cigarette smoking, air pollution, allergens, and unhealthy dietary patters. (Forno, E., & Celedon, J. 2012).

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