Today close to 46 million Americans are without health insurance, and of those, more than half are people of color. According to the Institute of Medicine, At least 1 in 3 Latinos is uninsured, as compared with 22% of African Americans, 17% of Asian and Pacific Islanders, and 13% of whites. In the third installment of our series, The Color of Money, we're examining how the economic downturn is exacerbating the already pronounced healthcare disparities among minorities. Job losses since 2007 have led to an estimated 9 million fewer Americans receiving health coverage through the workplace, and a corresponding rise in Medicaid enrollment. Well off white people who are losing their jobs these days are likely to fall into a safety net of COBRA coverage, which they can probably pay for out of their unemployment. Low-income ethnic minorities are losing their jobs too, but the world of healthcare they are likely to enter is one where prescription drugs are too expensive, co-pays too steep to pay, and the ER becomes a last resort.
To assess the current situation and to gauge how bad things could get we are joined by two experts in the field. Cara James is a Senior Policy Analyst for the Race, Ethnicity and Health Care group, and the Director of the Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
. And Dr. Robert Schiller is Senior Vice President for Medical Services and Training for the Institute for Family Health at Beth Israel.
For more of The Takeaway's series on The Color of Money, click here