Congress Must Respond to Deep Health Inequities for Black People During COVID-19: Medicaid is the Lever
As we remain on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, the priorities of the NMA and how we can best assist our membership is our highest priority. As you know, the Coronavirus Aid and Relief Economic Security Act (CARES) was passed by Congress and
signed into law by the President on March 27, 2020. The Council on Medical Legislation has been working tirelessly to examine all of the provisions of the CARES Act so that our membership is able to take advantage of this 2 trillion dollar relief
package. The CML has carefully put together information on the funding that is available to you as a physician and health professional. Hopefully, this Q&A fact sheet will be a valuable resource as you navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Insulin Access for All Act of 2019
Diabetes is an epidemic, and we must ensure access to affordable medication for this disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 100 million Americans are living with diabetes or pre-diabetes, and Black, Hispanic,
and American Indian/Alaskan Native populations are more likely to be living with diabetes than White and Asian populations. African Americans are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. According to the CDC, 79,535
deaths occur each year due to diabetes.
Resident Physician Shortage Act of 2019
According to recent projections by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), the United States will face a physician shortage of between 42,600 and 121,300 physicians by 2030. There will be shortages in both primary and specialty care, and
specialty shortages will be particularly large. This shortfall is driven by many factors, including the need for more doctors as the population grows and becomes more aged, as well as vacancies that will occur as physicians reach retirement age. Another
key factor that impacts physician training is an artificial cap that was placed on the Medicare Graduate Medical Education (GME) program more than two decades ago—a cap that remains in place today.
Gun Violence Epidemic in the African American Community: Recommendations for Safer African-American Communities
According to the July 2016 U.S. Census, White Americans are 61.3 % of the population, while African-Americans represent just 13.3 % of the U.S. population. Yet, 15,070 homicides were recorded in the U.S. of which 7881 were African American victims, and
6576 were White victims in 2016. Nearly 80 % of all homicides are due to a firearm or related injury. Despite the progress among African Americans since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, people of color continue to suffer disparate and discriminatory
access to economic opportunities, education, housing, health care and unfair treatment in the criminal justice system. The latest challenge faced by the physicians and public health providers who serve the African American community is the detrimental
and seemingly insurmountable, causes and effects of violence in impoverished communities of color.
Maternal Health in the African American Community
African-American mothers are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than White mothers, with 40.0 deaths per 100,000 live births for Black women and 12.4 deaths per 100,000 births for White women. This racial disparity has
persisted for the past 60 years.2 Due to racism, sexism and other systemic barriers that have contributed to income inequality, Black women are also typically paid just 63 cents for every dollar paid to White, non-Hispanic men.3 Median wages for Black
women in the United States are $36,227 per year, which is $21,698 less than the median salaries for White, non-Hispanic men. Economic inequalities impact the ability of African-American women and their families to not only support themselves, but
also secure sufficient health care. The effects of lower wages, along with Black women’s inadequate access to high-quality reproductive health information and services contribute to declining maternal health.