One of my favorite aspects about America is that we are a “melting pot,” the diversity that in my opinion makes America great and has been inexorably increasing for generations. As of 2017, according to an article from Modern Healthcare by Maria Castellucci (9/10/2018), the total population is 18.1% Latino, 21.2% “not-Latino, not-white,” and 60.7% “not-Latino, white.”
The challenge we face in this country is to focus our attention on how better to care for the people within our borders.
We have a crisis on our hands and it has to do with outcomes, or the results of the care being delivered. Outcomes are directly tied to healthcare access and quality of care being provided, both of which are also tied to reimbursement.
The real issue that we all face is that “17% of Latinos are uninsured, the highest rate among all ethnicities.”
“Additionally, census data projections show 24.6% of the population will be Latino by 2045, and the U.S. will be minority white. ”
“Texas, which didn’t expand Medicaid, had a 16.6% uninsured rate in 2016, the highest in the U.S. According to 2010 census data, 39.4% of the population was Latino.”
Only “California, which in 2015 became the first state in the nation to see the number of residents who identified as people of color eclipse whites, now has better outcomes than the rest of the nation because of the state’s diversity. The study found all populations except for blacks had lower rates of mortality and infant mortality and higher life expectancy than the national averages. The major drivers were better outcomes among both Latino and Asian populations, which combined make up 52% of the state’s population and had lower mortality and higher life expectancy than whites. One factor was that communities of color cater to their residents’ needs.”
Care provided to uninsured individuals causes a drain on resources precisely because the care is unreimbursed. Fortunately, we aim to provide care to ALL individuals, regardless of their ability to pay for that care. But the fact remains that resources are finite and everything comes with a cost.
So the obvious solution is to expand coverage to all people living in America. We are all Americans and in order to continue to have a successful and thriving society, we must improve the care we provide by improving the balance between cost and resources.
The need to refocus is critical. Our willingness to retrain our attentions is the unmet challenge.