Public expresses need for government intervention to reduce socio-economic disparities in health

October 15, 2009

As Congress debates the public health care option, a recent study reveals greater public support for reducing health care disparities among socio-economic groups (i.e. by income or education) than among racial groups. The respondents to the survey experiment, published in an upcoming issue of Social Science Quarterly, voiced strong concern about economic-based disparities and suggested government intervention would help to alleviate this imbalance.

On the flipside, over sixty percent of the people interviewed believed the racially-based disparities (primarily between African-Americans and Caucasians) were a result of genetic differences which may cause chronic conditions or recurring diseases. This perception led respondents to view racially-based disparities as less problematic and more resistant to government-based solutions, as well as to be less supportive of policy proposals aiming to eliminate .

On the whole, American health statistics point to stark differences between the well being and health among different social groups. The fact that college graduates are expected to live at least five years longer than Americans who have not completed high school and African-Americans are twice more likely to be in fair or poor health than Caucasian Americans raises serious concerns about both aspects of the issue. Efforts to garner public support for policies aimed at eliminating these health disparities should attend to the politics of social diversity, including the public's disparate perceptions of disparities defined by different social groups.

More information: To view the abstract for this article, please visit:

Source: Wiley (news : web)

Explore further: African-American Canadians who receive kidney transplants fare better than those in US

Related Stories

Race origins and health disparites

June 26, 2009

Much is often said about the glaring statistics showing that some racial and ethnic minorities face greater risks than whites when it comes to health.

Recommended for you

Four pre-Inca tombs found in Peru's Lima

November 27, 2015

Archaeologists in Peru have found four tombs that are more than 1,000 years old in a pyramid-shaped cemetery that now sits in the middle of a residential neighborhood in Lima, experts said.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.