Underfunding Of Federal Efforts To Eliminate Racial, Ethnic Disparities In Health Care Show Lack Of Seriousness

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Federal efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities inhealth care are underfunded and indicate a lack of seriousness aboutaccomplishing the goal, former U.S. Surgeon General David Satchersaid last month during a KaiserFamily Foundation webcast discussion, CQHealthBeat reports. According to Satcher, if the U.S. was"serious about eliminating disparities in health" and"improving health of minorities, then we would adequately fundthese programs. And we're nowhere close to adequate."

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Satchersaid recent progress in ending disparities includes the creation ofthe National Center forMinority Health and Health Disparities at NIHand the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program atCDC. Satcher alsonoted that the federal government has implemented several helpful"processes," including a 2002 Instituteof Medicine report on disparities, an annual report by the Agencyfor Healthcare Research and Quality on disparities and the goalsin the "Healthy People 2010" document.

Satcher alsosaid that while access to care is important, there are other reasonsfor disparities in health, including behavior, and social andphysical environment.

According to CQ HealthBeat,other panelists "said legislation in 2008 or 2009 could aidefforts to reduce disparities," such as better collection ofdata on the nature of disparities. The panel also included DoraHughes, health and education policy adviser to presidential candidateSen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.); Sean McCluskie, legislative director forRep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.); and Garth Graham, head of the Officeof Minority Health at HHS.(Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 12/21/07).

Reprinted with permission fromkaisernetwork.org.You can view the entire KaiserWeekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives,and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report ispublished for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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