Estimating the economic burden of racial health inequalities in the United States

Thomas Laveist, Darrell Gaskin, Patrick Richard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The primary hypothesis of this study is that racial/ethnic disparities in health and health care impose costs on numerous aspects of society, both direct health care costs and indirect costs such as loss of productivity. The authors conducted three sets of analysis, assessing: (1) direct medical costs and (2) indirect costs, using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (2002-2006) to estimate the potential cost savings of eliminating health disparities for racial/ethnic minorities and the productivity loss associated with health inequalities for racial/ethnic minorities, respectively; and (3) costs of premature death, using data from the National Vital Statistics Reports (2003-2006). They estimate that eliminating health disparities for minorities would have reduced direct medical care expenditures by about $3/17/2011230 billion and indirect costs associated with illness and premature death by more than $1 trillion for the years 2003-2006 (in 2008 inflation-adjusted dollars). We should address health disparities because such inequities are inconsistent with the values of our society and addressing them is the right thing to do, but this analysis shows that social justice can also be cost effective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-238
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Health Services
Volume41
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

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Economics
Costs and Cost Analysis
Health
Premature Mortality
Health Expenditures
Health Care Costs
Minority Health
Vital Statistics
Cost Savings
Economic Inflation
Social Justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

Cite this

Estimating the economic burden of racial health inequalities in the United States. / Laveist, Thomas; Gaskin, Darrell; Richard, Patrick.

In: International Journal of Health Services, Vol. 41, No. 2, 01.01.2011, p. 231-238.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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