Disparities in health care have been well documented: Nonwhites have higher rates of infant mortality, death from heart disease, incidence of diabetes and HIV/AIDS and are less likely to receive appropriate immunization than are whites. A recent study in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Disparities indicates that between 1991 and 2000, five times as many lives could have been saved by ending health disparities than were saved by innovations in health technology over the same period.
What role can public programs play in ending health disparities? What roles do geography, socio-economic status, and health insurance status play in perpetuating disparities? What is the private sector doing to address this issue? What more can be done?
To help address these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sponsored a December 9 luncheon briefing. Speakers were: Peter Bach, senior advisor to the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Ashish Jha, assistant professor of health policy and management at the Harvard School of Public Health; Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF); and Bernard Tyson, senior vice president for communications and external relations at Kaiser Permanente. Ed Howard of the Alliance moderated. RWJF provided new survey data on what Americans think about disparities, prepared by Robert Blendon of the Harvard School of Public Health.
Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)