Minority Health Minimalized In State Budget
Reducing premature death, chronic diseases and high cost care among racial and ethnic populations deserve action
 
 

COLUMBUS– Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D – Cols) today called for more emphasis on minority health issues in the state budget (HB 59) now being debated in the Ohio Senate. The substitute budget, unveiled Tuesday, does not address the health needs of minority communities which statistics show have higher rates of death and disease than other Ohioans.  

“We need to focus our funding, policies and programs on addressing these disparate and unconscionable statistics systemically,” stated Senator Charleta B. Tavares. “It is the moral, ethical and financially prudent way to improve the health of Ohioans.”

Senator Tavares offered an amendment—The Ohio Health Disparities Reduction Initiative—that would allocate $3.8 million per year to seven Ohio’s counties: Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas, Mahoning, Montgomery and Summit.  The counties will partner with hospitals, local offices of Minority Health, public health departments, community organizations, and non profit organizations such as the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association and others to develop health equity and prevention strategies for racial and ethnic minorities who experience the highest rates of mortality and morbidity due to chronic diseases. 

Statistics show that higher rates of death and disease of minority groups are directly related to the inadequate access and treatment. For example, Data from the 2010 US Census Bureau shows that that more than twice as many Hispanic/Latinos go without health insurance compared to the white population.

Additionally, a report recently released by the Ohio Department of Health reflects that: 

  • African American males in Ohio had the highest colorectal cancer mortality rates in 2007 of all gender/race groups.
  • The diabetes mortality rate of African Americans in Ohio is more than 84% higher than whites.
  • Ohio’s African American infant mortality rate is nearly three times that of white infants.

“We continue to talk about the statistics however; these are real infants and individuals who are dying prematurely and suffering disproportionately from chronic diseases and illnesses,” concluded Tavares. “We cannot afford to continue to allow these lives to be shattered by chronic illnesses and diseases that are preventable.”

Senator Tavares, who sits on the Senate Finance Committee, is hopeful that this amendment will be included in the omnibus budget to be released on Tuesday.

 

 
 
 
  
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