Local News

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.

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.



  • This just in — a significant portion of poor people make bad decisions in general, not just in financial matters.

    • Happy Bennett

      To escape poverty a few life choices should be elected: 1) get an education –public school education is acceptable 2) get a job 3)don’t break the law 4) don’t engage in self destructive behavior 5) don’t waste the money you earn.

      • Actually sociologists have distilled it down even more.

        1. Graduate high school.
        2. Get married.
        3. Have children.

        The important part is doing it in order.

        • Happy Bennett

          Tax payer funded public education for many ends with graduation from high school–but there are opportunities beyond that for the resourceful who are interested. I agree with the marriage and children sequence but feel that “out of wedlock pregnancy” is adequately covered in “self destructive behavior avoidance” as well as the broader topics of drug use, etc.

  • Mavdog

    A nation as great and prosperous as the US should not allocate a person’s access to healthcare to be based on a their affluence, but the data says this is the reality.

    • Happy Bennett

      Actually the impoverished and even middle class (70% of whose children are on CHIPS) have access through medicaid to fabulous around the clock healthcare. Emergent care at all levels is provided to citizens and non citizens alike at one of the premier world class medical teaching institutions in Dallas county UTSW-Parkland. At age 65 citizens are eligible for Medicare. The scope and availability of health services in this country are impressive.

      • Mavdog

        It is not accurate to refer to a family of 4 that has annual income of approx. $50,000 as “middle class”. That is the threshold of CHIPS eligibility.
        The term “healthcare” is much broader than what you suggest it is; it is not only the ability to see a doctor when you are already ill, and it is also includes educational lifestyle tools and preventive acts to reduce the potential of getting ill.
        While hospitals do not deny medical services to people in need due to their financial situation or insurance coverage, the access to preventive health resources due to their financial situation or insurance coverage is affected.
        While there is no denial that the scope of health services in this country is impressive, there is no denying the equal access by every person to this impressive health service is apportioned by wealth.

        • Happy Bennett

          The threshold of CHIPS eligibility is even more impressive than I thought. $50,000/yr is a really good middle class salary. To employ “educational lifestyle tools” the recipient must be willing to be educated (see above). Employing “preventative actions to reduce the the potential of getting ill” means compliance with healthcare advice and avoidance of behaviors which are self destructive and dangerous to others (see above).

          • Mavdog

            No, $50,000 is not a “really good middle class salary”. That income would not be sufficient to purchase a home anywhere close to the median price of housing in DFW.
            The tendency to paint lower income households as victims of their own decisions, not smart enough to stay healthy, is not only a fabrication it is a modern manifestation of Social Darwinism.

          • Happy Bennett

            $50,000/year is way more than many young professionals and young professionals in training make and –those who do are justifiably proud to be on the road to make more. If you are retired $50,00 will probably cover your expenses comfortably. Even smart people can make bad decisions, but usually learn from their mistakes. This is not about mislabeling poor people as “stupid”. You know better than that, I hope.

          • Mavdog

            “Young professionals and young professionals in training”? No, the discussion is about a typical family household of 4.
            I’ve met with a financial planner for years now to discuss retirement and what income target needed in retirement, and believe me they are not proposing a sum close to $50K…much more than $50K to “cover [my] expenses comfortably”. So professionals disagree with your assessment.
            You endorsed the comment “poor people make bad decisions in general”. If you wish to qualify that endorsement as not meaning that poor people make “stupid” decisions that landed them into the socio-economic strata of “poor’, contrary to what it seems to have intended to clearly say, feel free to do such.

          • Happy Bennett

            OMG-you are a six figure in your retirement per annum ‘to live comfortably” elitist. You don’t even know any poor or middle class people, do you?

          • Mavdog

            You need to check your math skills. “six figure” is 100% higher than what you portrayed as “comfortably”.

            Speaking of who is an “elitist”, the comment “poor people make bad decisions in general” sure puts that crown on your (and Phelps) head.

            So, to recap: lower income Americans are apportioned access to healthcare due to the cost (and the fact it is a “for profit” business), and the data in the article above reflect the consequences of that dynamic. While there are some Social Darwinians who believe that these lower income households simple have themselves and their “bad decisions” to blame for the situation, there are many who feel that America has not done well enough in distribution of healthcare to achieve positive results across all socio-economic strata.

          • Happy Bennett

            We poor and middle class people don’t have funds for “years of” access to your financial planners (about which you seem outright boastful). But then with all your snobbery and financial standing elitism you feel free to make fun of the little people’s “math skills”.

          • Mavdog

            Financial advisory is not anything that requires affluence, it is available to every person who wishes to get that service. Simply opening an account with almost any financial institution opens the door. Your response is both inaccurate and defensive in regard to the misstatements you have made and I’ve pointed out.

            “Snobbery” and “make fun” are contained in the comment “poor people make bad decisions in general”. That was you, not me.

          • Happy Bennett

            LOL- you’ve been outed as the limousine liberal you are. Financial planners don’t cater to poor or lower middle class people. You don’t have to be defensive about not associating with or actually knowing any poor people…

          • Mavdog

            You shouldn’t be so defensive about being financially ignorant. There are many places that help you understand rudimentary concepts of financial planning and they are happy to assist everybody regardless of the amount in their bank account. See, it isn’t the size of their wallet, it is the desire to do something about the future. You shouldn’t be so ashamed of not being smart about it. Would be happy to send you some these places to help you out.

            Don’t have a limousine, and have a wide variety of friends. It is ironic of course that you choose to call me names referencing “outed” as an “elitist” when my comments are about providing equality of access, and you proclaiming that it is just the poor’s own “bad decisions” that deny them help. You really need to look in the mirror.

          • Happy Bennett

            there you go again–I guess I really struck a nerve, but I didn’t mean to. So– if you actually know a financial planning firm that can help lift the impoverished from poverty–you should disclose it–this is your chance. On another note I always value and am entertained by your opinions about basketball (which are better, IMO, than Zac’s) and I am sure that your Pyrenees puppies love you (even if they are as stubborn as you are).

          • Sage Ross

            If 50k is not enough to support a family of 4 – I assume 2 children – then Don’t have them. Have only one. Or wait. And by the way, it should be. My parents lived on SS of 1,200 a month & Saved money.

          • Happy Bennett

            It can be done if you are not taxed out of your home by the county.

  • JamieT

    TL;DR version “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

    • Happy Bennett

      Apparently need is defined by making above a $50,000/year salary and being able to purchase a home in the DFW metro area.

      • JamieT

        Most of the arguments contra Phelps are self-evidently and hysterically nonsensical.

        First, no evil doers slip nicotine into a poor person’s Big Mac at the drive-through.



        Second, money spent on the non-trivial cost of cigarettes (or anything but bare bones mobile phones and plans, like Tracfone; or cable TV, etc.) by definition cannot be speant on health care, preventative or not, nor on personal anti-poverty plans.

        Third – and you should confirm this for me – nicotine withdrawal is not lethal.

        Etc., etc.

        When there are no serious consequences to not adopting the easily determinable more ascetic, reward-deferring behavior absolutely necessary not to be poor as well as the equally easily determinable behavior to optimize one’s health, why cramp one’s style? Someone else will always recommend the spending of other people’s money – but never their own – to cover one’s shortfall.

        On the other hand, imagine the reshuffling of public and market values if EMTALA were repealed and not replaced elsewhere, leaving one’s health and its preservation to be the transcending consideration to be accounted for by every human being from the earliest possible moment.

        You know, like it is every day among the birds and squirrels and every other living creature, and like it was for most of human history when stupid behavior could easily become a death sentence.

        • Happy Bennett

          2 Thessalonians 3:10. Even the birds and squirrels understand the need to be productive to survive.