Latest State Death Report Is Out; Is Health Reform Helping Only Whites Live Longer?

The latest state "death report" is out here, on 2008 data, and as I read through its highlights, these were the two that stopped me:

-In 2008, 10% of all deaths were amenable mortality (5,255), that is, deaths from certain causes that should not occur in the presence of timely and effective health care. For persons under 75 years of age, 28% of deaths were amenable mortality. Another way of saying this is that 28% of premature deaths were amenable to health care.

-The amenable mortality rate declined 6% since health care reform was implemented. When the amenable mortality rate for 2008 is compared with that of 2006 (before health care reform), the state rate went down from 82.5 (deaths per 100,000 population) to 77.4. This decline was only for Whites. There has been no change in the amenable mortality rate for Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians since 2006. (emphasis mine.)

Did we know this? I had understood that while racial disparities had not shrunk, the rising tide of access had lifted all boats.

This program aired on December 15, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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Carey Goldberg Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.



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