Health care is on the front pages once more as the controversial Affordable Care Act develops into one of the critical pivots on which the success of President Obama’s second term is expected to turn. At stake is not only Obama’s place in history; it’s the entire US economy wherein health care is the lynchpin to turn things around.
In his 2013 state-of-the-union address delivered on February 12, Obama issued strong statements on the issue. “Yes, the biggest driver of our long-term debt is the rising cost of health care for an aging population… We won’t grow the middle class simply by shifting the cost of health care or college onto families that are already struggling, or by forcing communities to lay off more teachers, cops, and firefighters.”
One sector that’s already struggling, and has been for some time now, is African Americans. In 2012, 17.4% of non-Hispanic Blacks were uninsured. Although this was lower than the 29.4% recorded for Hispanics, it was much higher than the 11.2% tallied for non-Hispanic Whites. More critically, only 55.9% of African Americans are expected to continue to live in good health, while a more or less healthy life is expected in 69.4% of white Americans. These and other alarming facts were revealed by the National Health Interview Survey of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and corroborated by data from the US Census Bureau.
Both these agencies were also the data source for this infographic takes a closer look at the health insurance situation of African Americans: their general health profiles compared to other ethnic groups; the insurance status of income groups within the African American sector; and where uninsured African American are clustered around the country.