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Racial Inequality Evident in Healthcare (and Everything Else) in Dallas County

A new report breaks down how racial and economic inequality makes people sick, spiritually and physically.
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Today the Communities Foundation of Texas and the Center for Public Policy Priorities released a report detailing the staggering racial and economic inequality that has taken root in Dallas County and grown worse in the last few decades.

You can read the full report here, and the Morning News summed up its contents here. And at D CEO Healthcare Daily, Shawn Shinneman dove into the stats on healthcare. The story of inequality in healthcare is much the same as it is in education, housing, transportation, and everything else, but with slight—very slight—signs of improvement in some areas.

In Dallas County, racial and ethnic disparities remain prominent in areas like maternal mortality and the ability to withstand chronic diseases, even as the disparities among those without health insurance have tightened in recent years.

That shrinking gap in health insurance enrollment is attributed partly to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, although inequalities persist along racial lines.

There were 321,800 more Dallas County residents with health insurance in 2015, the latest year studied, than there were six years prior. Gaps in coverage remain but have tightened. About half of all Hispanics in the county were uninsured in 2009, compared to one in three in 2015.

The 332,000 uninsured Hispanics account for about 63 percent of all uninsured residents in Dallas County.

In 2015, 16.6 percent of blacks were uninsured (compared to 24.2 percent in 2009) and 9.4 percent of whites were uninsured (compared to 13.5 percent in ’09).

And the disparities even apply to how we die.

When it comes to maternal mortality, the report found that, in 2014, 71.7 black mothers per 100,000 died during pregnancy, childbirth, or in the months after delivery—versus 26.2 Hispanic mothers and 22.5 white mothers…

The report from the CFT and CPPP also shows that there are significant differences when it comes to death rates among the county’s three leading causes of death. For every 100,000 black people in Dallas County, 233 die from heart disease, 194 from cancer, and 67 from stroke. Black residents are twice as likely to die from heart disease as Hispanic residents and fifty percent more likely to die from stroke, the report notes.

Ann Beeson, CEO of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, also released a set of policy recommendations today, suggesting increased access to health insurance and more support of organizations that enroll underserved families. You can read the rest of her recommendations here.

A few charts drive home how much the color of your skin, and the size of your bank account, determine your access to healthcare.


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