Obamacare: Health Equity Can’t Wait
As the Supreme Court considers the president’s controversial healthcare law, the administration celebrates the first anniversary of an Obamacare initiative to “reduce racial and ethnic health disparities” that established dozens of new state and federal offices.
It’s one of many powerful arguments for opposing the president’s hostile takeover of the nation’s healthcare system. Officially known as the Affordable Care Act, a seldom-mentioned provision of the measure is dedicated to reducing health disparities between minorities and whites. More than $100 million has already been dedicated to the initiative to help lower chronic diseases “disproportionately seen among poor and minority populations.”
To carry out the mission, Obamacare established half a dozen federal Offices of Minority Health as well as one for each state. The federal minority offices are embedded in the following agencies; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ); the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS); the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA); and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Each federal office will coordinate activities and programs that improve the health of racial and ethnic minority populations. For instance the CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity will “advance the science and practice of health equity” and “collaborate with national and global partners to promote the reduction of health inequalities.” The FDA’s branch will “promote effective communication” among “underserved, vulnerable populations” and strengthen research associated with “race and ethnicity.”
All 50 state “health equity” branches will work to “empower people” and “mobilize community partnerships” to end disparities. They will form a movement, a call to action if you will, at the regional, state, county and city level to achieve health equity. This includes encouraging elementary and high school students to organize special health equity events on campuses across the nation.
In the name of this cause, the Obama Administration has coined April National Minority Health Month because “health equity can’t wait.” The idea is to raise awareness of the health disparities that continue to affect racial and ethnic minorities, according to a government press release, and to celebrate the opportunities of Obamacare’s “groundbreaking policies to reduce those health disparities.”
Despite the progress our nation has made over the past 50 years, racial and ethnic minorities still lag behind the general population on many health fronts, the announcement says. Minorities are less likely to get the preventive care they need to stay healthy, more likely to suffer from serious illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease and colon cancer, and they are less likely to have access to quality health care.