Thursday, December 3, 2009

Economic burden of health inequities: Who’s paying the price?

Economic burden of health inequities: Who’s paying the price?
by Dr. Norm Oliver, Director of UVa Center on Health Disparities
What would happen if African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans had the same health outcomes as whites? Not only would we be spared the pain and suffering of the unequal burden of disease we bear, but we’d save billions of dollars each year.

In a recent study published by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Thomas LaVeist et al estimate that the combined costs of health inequalities and premature death in the United States between 2003 and 2006 were $1.24 trillion. Direct medical care expenditures during this 4-year period could have been reduced by $229.4 billion if racial and ethnic health inequities had been eliminated.
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