Racial/ethnic disparities in health and health care in the United States are persistent and well documented. Communities of color fare far worse than their white counterparts across a range of health indicators: life expectancy, infant mortality, prevalence of chronic diseases, self-rated health status, insurance coverage, and many others. As the nation’s population continues to become increasingly diverse—people of color are projected to comprise 54% of the U.S. population by 2050 and more than half of U.S. children by 2023— these disparities are likely to grow if left unaddressed. Recent health care reform legislation, while not a panacea for eliminating health disparities, offers an important first step and an unprecedented opportunity to improve health equity in the United States.
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