Health Care Reform: Minorities Still Waiting

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Salon’s Joan Walsh recently called out white working class voters who wrongly think health care reform only helps people of color. On Thursday, the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity released a fact sheet (PDF) that bolstered Walsh’s argument by explaining that recently passed reforms won’t improve the low quality treatment received by racial and ethnic minorities.

The bill won’t tackle social factors like poor food quality, toxic or pollutant-riddled neighborhoods, poverty, and other bad deals that are disproportionately dealt out to people of color and that contribute to their generally poorer health. The Kirwan Institute applauds the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for expanding (PDF) the number of health care centers in the country and insuring a projected 16 million people. But the Institute also points to health and care disparities affecting different ethnic communities. People of color are less likely to get lifesaving heart medications, bypass surgery, dialysis, or kidney transplants—but they are more likely to have feet and legs amputated for late-stage diabetes treatment. That means the battle for improved health care is not over. And more legislation is needed to address racial health disparities.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.