Report Finds Common Challenges Involving Health Care in the U.S.

A report published by FamiliesUSA titled “A Case for Solidarity: Common Challenges Involving Health and Health Care in the United States” found an increased risk of poor health among many minority groups and that problems with health status and health care tend to affect people of color much more than white people.

The report states that among residents of rural areas, serious health problems are much more common than they would be to residents of urban areas. It follows up with, “While residents of rural areas are 2 percentage points more likely than urban residents to go without care because of cost, race and ethnicity have a much stronger association with this measure of financial access barriers. African-Americans are 6 percentage points more likely and Latinos 9.8 percentage points more likely than whites to avoid going to the doctor because of cost.” This shows a clear correlation between ethnicity, race, and class to more issues involving health care.

The report also found that working-class women, regardless of race, are more likely to experience serious health issues and to experience financial problems when trying to deal with health care. They found that in 2011 – 2013, working-class women were 3.5 times more likely to deal with poor physical and mental health than a college educated man would. In 1999 – 2001, the percentage of working-class women who spent at least 2 weeks in poor physical health was 12.6%. By the year 2013, that percentage grew to 16.7% while the percentage of poor mental health grew from 15.1%  to 19.1 %. That’s about 1 in 5 working class women while the same was only true for about 1 in 18 college educated men.

On a financial level, the report speaks about working-class women struggling with this, stating “ …working-class women also suffer serious disadvantages involving financial access to care. In 2011-2013, working-class women were more than three times as likely to go without doctor visits because of cost as were college-educated men. Fully 27.7 percent of working-class women—more than 1 in 4— encountered this financial barrier. The same was true for only 7.8 percent of college-educated men, or fewer than 1 in 12.”

Regardless of race, class, gender, or location, any of us can encounter serious health problems. Even though people of color have more of a risk of encountering these problems, white people make up the majority of people affected. This is because white people make up the majority of U.S. residents, for example, more than 70% of residents in rural areas who encounter financial problems with health care are white since they make up most of rural residential areas. The report was made to show that we need to improve access to health care and that we need to start helping families in need regardless of race, ethnicity, and gender.