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Racism And Health Care Disparity Essay

1332 words - 5 pages

Is Racism the cause of Health care disparity?
In recent discussions of health care disparities, a controversial issue has been whether racism is the cause of health care disparities or not. On one hand, some argue that racism is a serious problem in the health care system. From this perspective, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) states that there is a big gap between the health care quality received by minorities, and the quality of health care received by non-minorities, and the reason is due to racism. On the other hand, however, others argue that health care disparities are not due to racism. In the words of Sally Satel, one of this view’s main proponents, “White and black patients, on average don’t even visit the same population of physicians” (Satel 1), hence this reduces the chances of racism being the cause of health care disparities. According to this view, racism is not a serious problem in the health care system. In sum, then, the issue is whether racism is a major cause of health care disparities as the Institute of Medicine argues or racism is not really an issue in the health care system as suggested by Sally Satel.
According to the institute of Medicine (IOM), racism is a problem in the health care system, that is, the difference between the quality of health care received by minorities and non-minorities is due to racism. IOM is a nonprofit organization that advises the federal government and the public on science policy. It released a report that on average, minorities receive a lower quality of care, even when factors such as income and type of health insurance are accounted for. The report by IOM states that racial stereotypes and prejudice are the cause of the health care disparities. The article by IOM points out the different causes of health care disparities, and the ways of correcting those disparities. Both IOM and Sally Satel identify that there is a big gap between the health care quality administered to minorities and non-minorities.
Sally Satel on the other hand is a supporter of the fact that racism is not a serious problem in the health care system. Even though she agrees with IOM about health care disparity, she thinks racism is not a cause. That is what she shows the reader in her article. She argues that the health care system is colorblind. Satel she mentions the causes of health care disparities as well as ways to correct the disparities. In her opinion, “racism isn't to blame for health disparities, but rather race itself” (Satel 2). Satel identifies two possible reasons to counter the notion that racism is the cause of health care disparities. First, she quotes that, “white and black patients, on average, do not even visit the same population of physicians—making the idea of preferential treatment by individual doctors a far less compelling explanation for disparities in health” (Satel 2). Another reason is “that a higher proportion of the doctors that black patients tend to see may not be in a position to...

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