Five decades ago, Dr. King delivered his landmark civil rights speech, but inequality persists. Black Americans still have less access to healthcare and worse treatment outcomes than their white peers.
Fifty years ago this week, Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his renowned “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. In it, he outlined his vision of an America in which all citizens are equal. Despite Dr. King’s civil rights successes and the expansion of the U.S. healthcare system in the decades since, black and white Americans have yet to reach parity.
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) says that babies born to black women are one and a half to three times more likely to die than babies born to white women. Black women are also more than one and a half times more likely to give birth prematurely.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 20 percent of black Americans lack access to a primary care doctor, compared with less than 16 percent of whites.
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And, according to the AHRQ, only seven percent of black children hospitalized for asthma are prescribed asthma medications, compared to 21 percent of white children.
Although blacks are less likely to die from drug overdoses and suicides than their white peers, according to the CDC, they are more likely to die of heart disease and stroke, despite a far lower absolute number of cases.
The NCSL also notes that African-American men are twice as likely to die of prostate cancer than their white counterparts.
And the CDC says that in 2008 African Americans were nine times more likely than whites to be infected with HIV, while the AHRQ says that blacks with HIV are less likely than whites to receive antiretroviral drug therapy.
In 1998, President Bill Clinton allotted the CDC