Social injustice in the name of racism has marred the history of the American health care system. For quite some time, black patients were segregated and isolated into appallingly unequal wards and hospitals. Still others were denied medical attention and turned away from hospitals. On July 30, 1965, Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th president of the United States signed two programs; Medicaid and Medicare into law and this marked a turning point in the health care justice system. Before I continue I just have this side rant real quick. I had to move the weekend and it totally blew except for the fact that we were smart enough to hire a professional to move our grand piano in bucks county. Talk about injustice! I digress and back onto the issues with health care.
The signed programs expanded to a greater extent health care access for the poor and the elderly of all races. They also ended the rampant cases of explicit hospital segregation. In order for hospitals to be certified under the program, they were required to meet the standards as stipulated in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. However, in spite of this crucial achievement and the gains realized out of it, racial justice in the health care system still remains an aspiration.
Following the death of Freddie Gray, the 25 year old who died in hospital out of spinal injuries on April 19, 2015 after being taken into police custody on April 12, 2015, the debate on race and the criminal justice system was debated once again and the entire nation was reminded of the existing and disturbing racial inequalities in the health care system. For instance, there were glaring differences in life expectancy in some of the segregated neighborhoods of Baltimore with figures as high as two decades. Across America, black males in 2010 recorded a life expectancy which was close to 5 years lower than that of white males. Black women on the other hand had life expectancy levels which were 3 years lower than their white female counterparts. Continue reading Racial Injustice among the Top Social Ills in U.S. Health Care