White People Lead in Health Care Spending in the United States

By: Tadi Abedje

White people are still the majority in America despite the latest 2020 census data revealing that the country is getting more diverse. According to the United States Census Bureau website, white people alone consist of 76.3% percent of the country as of July 1, 2019. 

There are studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association that provide data on health care spending in America. Predictably, it found that white people spend more than any other racial group. 

At the University of Washington, a team at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation investigated the breakdown of health care spending from 2002 to 2016 among 7.3 million health visits. In their findings, they found that whites were responsible for 72% of the $2.4 trillion in health care spending in 2016, while only 11% of Black Americans took part in the spending. 

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There was a second study related to this subject at Yale University, which was led by Dr. Harlan Krumholz and his colleagues. According to an CNN article, they dug into surveys of at least 600,000 people from 1999 to 2018 and found that Black, Hispanic and American Indian people have the highest percentages of poor health. 

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These studies further highlight the inequities in the health care system between whites and non-whites. One solution suggested by Dr. George Mensah, who is the senior advisor with the Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health, is for community clinics to play a bigger part in accessibility. 

“One of the lessons we’ve learned is we need to stop thinking of always finding ways to tell patients, ‘go to the doctor,’ tell patients ‘go to the clinic,’” Mensah said, according to CNN. 

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