America’s racial and ethnic minorities have worse health than whites do, and they often receive a lesser standard of health care. People who have limited education or income, or who live in poor neighborhoods, have worse health and health care compared to those who are better educated or financially better off. People with disabilities are also in worse health, and receive worse health care, compared to people without disabilities.
Narrowing these disparities in health and health care has been the goal of many public and private efforts since the early 1990s. Although some progress has been made—particularly in closing the quality gap in the care that minorities and whites receive—much more remains to be done.
The multiple causes of health and health care disparities are complex, and some are only beginning to be explored deeply. Among the policy recommendations for making further progress are the following:
- Improving the quality of care across the health care system;
- focusing more attention to lessening or eliminating the drivers of poor health–including poverty, low levels of education, and the health and safety of neighborhoods;
- increasing efforts to keep health care safety-net facilities viable; and
- devoting more research to further understanding health disparities.
This Health Policy Brief summarizes what is known about health and health care disparities, discusses recent efforts to close the gaps, and was published online on October 6, 2011 in Health Affairs.
Health Affairs/RWJF Health Policy Briefs
Series provides clear, accessible overviews of timely and important health policy topics. The briefs are geared to policy-makers, congressional staffers, and others who need short, jargon-free explanations of health policy basics.About the series
- About this grant
While the need to address disparities in care is well known, few strategies for reducing disparities have been studied systematically.
RWJF examines the types of competitive foods - foods and beverages schools offer outside of meal programs - available in our nation's school...
Progress and lessons learned from two programs that seek to advance the impact digital games can have on health.
Joint Commission Resources in Oak Brook Ill., oversaw development and testing of an online course and support materials to improve communica...
The rapid rise of antibiotic resistance can be tracked using ResistanceMap, an online tool that visually highlights regions of the country w...
Report examines, compares and contrasts Massachusetts and Utah health insurance exchanges.
Report examines issues states will face as they integrate Medicaid into the exchange.
This poll shows most Americans believe the quality of U.S. health care is average at best. More than half of American adults surveyed barely...
Want to improve health? Start with where we live, work, learn and play.
Health care reform may create incentives to spur the growth in HDHPs and CDHPs, a move that might help hold costs down?at least for a time.
The authors suggest repairing the health care system by realigning provider incentives, increasing the availability of information with whic...
While the ACA is aimed primarily at improving individual health by increasing access to health insurance, it also contains a number of provi...