Three public health campaigns targeting access to healthcare for women and minorities are (1) Million Hearts, (2) A Healthy Baby Begins with You, and (3) Native Generations. Million hearts advertises through clinics that participate in clinical trials for at-risk populations, which include low-income and racial minorities. It also provides an online tool to educate the public about heart health and allow patients to track their heart health. A Healthy Baby Begins with You targets women who may not see the benefits of compliant maternity care. It advertises through community outreach and campaign materials to reduce pregnancy risks and infant mortality rates. Lastly, Native Generations focuses on infant mortality among American Indians and Alaskan Natives. They advertise through online videos, community outreach, and via Urban Indian Health Organizations (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, 2016). Abortion legislation has made abortion inaccessible to many low-income and minority women. The Hyde Act prevents Medicaid from funding abortion unless the woman was impregnated through rape, incest, or the pregnancy will threaten her life. Therefore, unwanted pregnancies are too costly to end, and the women ends up sinking into further financial ruin because of the added expense of children. The Hyde Act has been around since 1976. Since 2011, many states have enacted TRAP laws, which regulate facilities that provide abortions. This has decreased availability of doctors willing to provide abortion services due to ridiculous regulations that have little to do with the procedure (Gilman, 2016).
Through the Affordable Care Act, birth control should be accessible regardless of the device. However, there is still a legal battle over devices that have many variations, such as oral birth control. If there is more than one option, insurance companies may not cover it. This legality is questionable and continues to be fought.
The biggest legal barrier to access to health care for low-income immigrant workers is that they cannot have Medicaid coverage until they’ve resided in the U.S. for five years (Mandal, 2016).
Being overlooked by the health care system means that minorities are not seeking treatment as often as whites, and when they do, they are not being treated as often as whites. This disparity exists because of stigmas surrounding treatment, which may be more prevalent among minorities. It also exists because of white biases, hopefully unintentional, where they are not getting treatment as often as whites. I agree that these biases exist, especially in low-income communities and areas that are disproportionately white.
In mental health care of students, disparities exist among racial minorities even when school-based counseling is available for all. It is not clear why this disparity still exists, but it may be because of social stigmas surrounding seeking help or that minorities are seeking help elsewhere, such as through the church, family, etc. (Thomas, Temple, Perez, & Rupp, 2011).
Mental health access and utilizations barriers can be lessened by ensuring that doctors have training in minority disparities and that access to care is promoted. This access and utilization is improving with the amount of insured minorities on the rise, but it is still a challenge.
Former U.S. Surgeon General, David Satcher, has strategies to decrease the chance of minorities being overlooked by the health care system. They include improving access to care, getting more minorities in the health care workforce, improving access to mental health, substance abuse, oral health and HIV/AIDs care (Satchel, 2003). Many of these needs related to issues that fall unequally on minorities who are often in low-income brackets without insurance. However, Satcher’s article is form 2003, and the Affordable Care Act has likely reduced some of the problems of being overlooked.
- Gilman, M. (2016). How limiting women’s access to birth control and abortions hurts the economy. Raw Story. Retrieved from http://www.rawstory.com/2016/04/how-limiting-womens-access-to-birth-control-and-abortions-hurts-the-economy/
- Mandal, A. (2016, May 13). Disparities in access to health care. News Medical. Retrieved from http://www.news-medical.net/health/Disparities-in-Access-to-Health-Care.aspx
- Satcher, D. (2003, May). Overlooked and underserved: improving the health of men of color. American Journal of Public Health (93)5: 707-709. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447821/
- Thomas, J.F., Temple, J.R., Perez, N., & Rupp, R. (2011, February). Ethnic and gender disparities in needed adolescent mental health care. Journal of Health Care for the Poor Underserved (22)1: 101-110. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3133675/pdf/nihms304635.pdf
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health. (2016). Campaigns and Initiatives. Retrieved from http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlID=12