On Tuesday March 21st 2023, Marie DeMarco, PSR PA’s Health Educator and Medical Advocacy Coordinator attended Unequal Treatment at 20: Accelerating Progress Toward Health Care Equity hosted by the Urban Institute in Washington, DC. This day-long session on health equity and existing inequalities in the healthcare system hosted over 21 speakers from across the country.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra’s opening remarks highlighted the barriers to care experienced by millions of people in America, and the marginal impacts of race and ethnicity such as implicit bias. The Secretary of Health and Human Services shared that low income communities are suffering the most from environmental injustice. Another speaker, Dr. Richard E. Besser, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation mentioned that America shies away from racism and the effect that it has on many communities. Racism in healthcare systems is dangerous and leads to premature death. He also stated that there are so many barriers to injustice in the United States and that there is a pervasive culture of treating people when problems arise rather than using preventative measures to improve health. In the United States there is no universal healthcare because there is no social solidarity therefore no universal policy would work.
The key findings in Unequal Treatment at 20 are that racial and ethnic disparities exist, they occur in the context of broader historical and contemporary inequality, and that many sources contribute to health inequities.
For the 20th anniversary for the Unequal Treatment at 20 Report there are multiple goals to address reform and equity:
Identify promising new strategies
Identify actors accountable for action
Identify priorities for new research
Elevate the voices of lived experience of inequity
Curate strategies that can die explored in selected states
Innovative use of pt race and ethnicity dates to assess and improve healthcare quality
Delineating Actors in Health care systems
The past and current political and social context of health inequities
Envisioning health equity
Marie will continue to follow Unequal Treatment at 20 and share new analysis of the healthcare system and movement towards health equity.