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Views around health, equity, and race during the pandemic

January 22, 2021

Topics: Quote of the Day

Many see COVID-19 as a moment for change, with improving access to health care as the shift they most want to see.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, January 2021

This ongoing survey from RAND Corporation attempts to understand the views and values of those who are most at risk to the adverse impacts of COVID-19 by surveying people with lower and middle incomes with a focus on communities of color. It measures the attitudes of the same group of respondents over a year with four waves of collection.

Wave 2 Key Findings

  • Many people—even those who may have been hit hardest by the pandemic and long-standing inequities—still do not see systemic racism as a barrier to good health.
  • Respondents’ willingness to risk their own health to return to “normal” has actually gone up slightly over time.
  • More than 70 percent of respondents see the pandemic as a moment for positive change. Black and Hispanic respondents are also more likely than white respondents to endorse this statement.
  • Respondents who see an opportunity for positive change believe society should prioritize expanding access to health care and reducing income inequality.
  • Nearly two-thirds of respondents believe the government should ensure health care as a fundamental right. White respondents are less likely to endorse this statement.
  • Black respondents report lower trust in government than white and Hispanic respondents.

Wave 1 & 2 Reports can be downloaded from this link:
https://www.rwjf.org…


Comment:

By Don McCanne, M.D.

This survey of lower- and middle-income households with an oversample of Black, Hispanic and Asian Americans reveals that these sectors surprisingly do not see systemic racism as a barrier to good health, but they also are willing to risk their own health to return to “normal” during the pandemic. Nevertheless, over 70 percent believe that the pandemic is a moment for positive change.

They believe that we should prioritize expanding access to health care and reducing income inequality. Nearly two-thirds of respondents believe the government should ensure health care as a fundamental right, but white respondents are less likely to endorse this statement. Black respondents report lower trust in government than white and Hispanic respondents.

Beliefs are as they are, though surveys have their limitations. Beliefs would improve if we made a greater effort to make health care access universal while reducing income inequality, but it does appear that all camps could stand to be exposed to more education on our problems and their solutions, especially in public health and public policy.

Stay informed! Visit www.pnhp.org/qotd to sign up for daily email updates.

About the Commentator, Don McCanne

Don McCanne is a retired family practitioner who dedicated the 2nd phase of his career to speaking and writing extensively on single payer and related issues. He served as Physicians for a National Health Program president in 2002 and 2003, then as Senior Health Policy Fellow. For two decades, Don wrote "Quote of the Day", a daily health policy update which inspired HJM.

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