While health care is in need of radical reform for millions of Americans, Blacks have historically suffered disproportionately from poor or non-existent access to even the most primitive of medical care, and it’s not getting better.
Grave numbers show that although African-Americans make up only 13.5 % of the population, when compared to white men, black men are 2.4 times more likely to die from prostate cancer, 30% more likely to die from heart disease; twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes and 2.2 times more likely to die from the disease.
The data is just as grim for African-American women when compared to white women. Black women have a 34% higher chance of dying from breast cancer although only 10 % less likely to be diagnosed, as many have no access to health care; twice as likely to die from stomach cancer, and 22 times higher a chance of being diagnosed with AIDS with a 20% higher rate of death.
While 46 million Americans have no insurance, one assurance that can't be denied is the shocking numbers of minorities who become ill and die untimely deaths from otherwise preventable and treatable diseases.
"These disparities determine how long we live and how healthy our life is," said Thomas A. LaVeist, Ph.D., author of Minority Populations and Health: An Introduction to Health Disparities in the United States.
"Whites live an average of 5-7 years longer than blacks. African-Americans are more likely than whites to be victims of homicide and HIV/AIDS. Infant mortality is double for blacks. It's been that way since statistics have been kept," LaVeist said.
Those opposed to reform defy ignorance while ignoring that although the United States spends more on health care than any industrialized country, it ranks last in the quality of health among 191 member nations, according to the World Health Organization.
When rating a country's overall quality of health care, one of the most significant indicators of the population's health is the infant mortality death rate, and numbers are particularly grave for minority infants in the U.S.
For African-American babies, the death rate is 2.3 times that of white infants, and four times more likely to die from low birth weight. The data is most severe for Native-Americans, with the infant mortality rate topping whites by 48 %.
Sobering statistics reveal that although blacks only make up only 13.5 % of the civilian "non-institutionalized" population, they are 60 % more likely to die from a stroke than whites, and if they survive, they are more likely to become disabled.
What do you think?
- Centers for Disease Control, Health of Black and African non-Hispanic Population
- The Office of Minority Health/ African-American Profile
- Current Statistics on African-American Health' Net Wellness
About the Author
Francesca Biller is an award-winning investigative journalist, writer, and commentator and has been covering politics, the arts, race relations, popular culture, multiculturalism and social issues for print, radio, television and the web for nearly twenty years. In addition to writing in-depth investigative pieces, Biller has now expanded her writing career to include critical essays, political commentary and satire, verse and blogs about her mixed heritage and culture. Her work can be found on many major news websites and on her own blogs. Currently, she is a special contributor for The Japanese American National Museum in which she writes exclusive articles about mixed race and identity.