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United States of Care releases “The Health Equity Landscape From the People’s Perspective: 4 Key Insights from USofCare’s Listening Work”

Published On January 3, 2023

What does an equitable health care system look like? A system that treats people well — like people. It removes obstacles that prevent people from attaining and maintaining the resources needed for them to be as healthy as possible. Obstacles such as racism, discrimination and bias but also other drivers of health such as poor education, low wages, poor air quality, housing, and low or no access to quality affordable health care.

When these obstacles are removed and we have a system that provides quality health care with respect for everyone, costs go down. People can then redirect those resources elsewhere for a better quality of life, where they don’t have to live in fear of the next health crisis sending them into bankruptcy or another major life disruption. People can create more economic growth and stability, put food on their table, send their kids to school, take vacations, secure quality housing — and the like. But this can’t happen if people who are historically marginalized by the health care and other systems are not treated and respected as people first. 

Working to dismantle these and many other inequities, including discrimination in the health care system, is key to USofCare’s identity and mission. As an organization, we are dedicated to creating a health care system that works for everyone regardless of their health status, ability, social need, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, income, or ZIP code. Furthermore, we believe that to build toward this more equitable health care system, we must first learn how people understand and experience inequities in the health care system.

The following report provides a deep dive into some of the data USofCare has gathered over the last two years through a variety of methods with thousands of adults living across the United States. USofCare’s research cuts across the sorts of challenges that people face with the health care system, and the solutions people want to prioritize to solve them. For the purposes of this report, we examined the data specific to inequities which came up in our community conversations, focus groups, or public opinion polling. 

Specific research questions and first-person stories both helped us train our focus on the following areas: understanding peoples’ awareness of inequities in the health care system, who experiences them the most, the lived experiences with bias and discrimination, how people understand the term “health equity,” and the desires people have for health equity to be elevated for a better health care system.