Speaking against conditional healthcare

Accessibility of healthcare varies from race to race is a prejudice

Should people be denied basic human care on the basis of their race? The answer should be no, but systemic oppression creates hurdles which people of color must fight against. When a person’s skin color is a deciding factor on whether someone receives medical attention, racism is disguised as an unfortunate exclusion. 

Health disparities are defined as differences in treatment closely linked to social or economic differences, according to Healthy People 2020. The U.S. is home to a wide spectrum of people, and with that comes a large spectrum of racial favorability. Before the Affordable Care Act, one out of every three Hispanic Americans were uninsured, and one in five Black Americans were uninsured, according to USC’s Health Administration. This variation in health can not be chalked up to a mere coincidence. It is clear that there are biases and segregation at play. 

There are multiple reasons for these alarming statistics. Healthcare providers can hold implicit biases, and their prescriptions can vary based on how urgent they deem the situation to be, according to the American Psychological Association. If certain races appear more important than others through a racist lens, disparities will increase. Stereotypes towards a certain race can lead to a lack of proper health care. As long as doctors hold this biased perspective, people of color will not receive the attention they need.

Accessibility of healthcare varies from race to race. (Photo by Illustration by Somalee Banerjee)

Systemic racism is a downward cycle. Biased and limited healthcare increase the disadvantages that people of color struggle to escape. Status, race and environment are determinants of health according to healthypeople.gov. The cascade begins with having a lower socioeconomic status. With this lower socioeconomic status comes less resources and less income, which makes it more difficult to afford healthcare. Race can often influence the opportunities that a person has, making the playing field harder for someone of darker skin. 

Relieving the country of these healthcare disparities by making pharmacies or hospitals more accessible is a vital step. This dislodges a gear in the cycle of systemic racism, which provides a stepping stone to lessening the poverty and oppression people of color face. 

            We need to shed light on this injustice, educating those in the medical departments to treat everyone equally in order to decrease the biases held against people of color.  Everyone deserves the necessary amount of medical attention. Making efforts towards inclusivity and equality is a step we must take.