Patients in new survey report racial discrimination in health care

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More than a quarter of older adults in the U.S. say they have not gotten the health care they felt they needed because of discrimination, a new survey out Thursday showed.

The report from The Commonwealth Fund found that older Americans were more likely to more likely to report racial and ethnic discrimination in the health system than their counterparts in 10 other high-income countries. 

Thirty-two percent of Americans over age 60 said the U.S. health care system treats people differently based on race. Canada had the next highest rate of older people to report discrimination in its health care system with 17 percent. 

The other countries included in the study were Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Among Black adults over age 60 and older, 25 percent said their health professional had treated them unfairly or not taken their concerns seriously because of their race or ethnic background. 

Figures were similar for and Latinx adults with 23 percent saying they had reported such discrimination. Meanwhile, just 3 percent of white respondents reported experiencing discrimination.

The survey was conducted between March 1 to June 14, 2021. It included 1,969 adults age 60 and older. It has a margin of error of  plus or minus 2 percent.

An earlier survey from the Commonwealth Fund showed a concerning connection to race and maternal mortality. 

That report said Black women in the U.S. are almost three times more likely to die from complications related to their pregnancy than their white counterparts.


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