Black and Hispanic residents in Massachusetts struggle to pay medical bills, find it harder to access doctor appointments and have patchier health coverage than their white counterparts, according to a new report released Thursday.
Inequity in Massachusetts’ health care plays out at each step of the process: in insurance, getting appointments and paying for care, according to the report from the Center for Health Information and Analysis, an independent state agency that tracks health data. The report, which was conducted using data from 2015, 2017 and 2019, will serve as a baseline for researchers to compare against to understand what changed in health care access during the pandemic, said CHIA Deputy Executive Director of Research Dr. Zi Zhang.
Pushing for solutions are groups like Health Care for All, whose Help Line director Hannah Frigand pointed to legislation at the statehouse that would ease insurance and health care processes, and Black Boston’s COVID-19 Coalition, which is calling for equitable pandemic recovery and on Thursday called for the state to reopen mass vaccination sites in predominantly Black neighborhoods.
Among the key report takeaways, three-quarters of Hispanic residents, and 78% of Black residents with low family incomes reported having continuous health insurance coverage over the last year or more, compared with more than 90% of white residents.
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