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Access to Health Care Could Have Saved 900,000 African American Lives: Study

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Issue: 25 Section: International News Geography: USA Topics: racism

January 6, 2005

Access to Health Care Could Have Saved 900,000 African American Lives: Study

According to an analysis published last month in the American Journal of Public Health, over 886,000 deaths of African Americans could have been prevented with access to basic health care similar to that available to white Americans.

The analysis, which examines data between 1991 and 2000, attributes the disparities in health coverage to racial inequalities in income and socioeconomic position.

"Access to care is a big factor. African Americans and Hispanics are much more likely to be uninsured and underinsured and underserved," co-author David Satcher told the Washington Post. "So a great part of it is really focusing on how do we get prevention programs, intervention programs [and] treatment programs to people in underserved communities?"

The study also concludes that the number of lives saved by technological improvements over the same period was 176,633.

The article states: "An intriguing question is whether more lives are saved by medical advances or by resolving social inequities in education and income."

"The prudence of investing billions [of dollars] in the development of new drugs and technologies while investing only a fraction of that amount in the correction of disparities deserves reconsideration."

» Washington Post: Dying For Basic Care

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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