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Equitable Health Systems: Cultural and Structural Issues for Latino Elders

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 January 2021

Steven P. Wallace
Affiliation:
UCLA School of Public Health; UCLA Center for Health Policy Research
Valentine M. Villa
Affiliation:
UCLA School of Public Health; California State Polytechnic University at Pomona; UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

Extract

This Article examines the extent to which the U.S. healthcare system is equitable for older Latinos, using the World Health Organization (WHO) and the related Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) criteria on health outcomes, access/responsiveness and financing. We argue that improving health equity requires more than actions aimed at health behavior and culturally-based beliefs targeted at the individual. Improving equity also requires changes in broader social and political processes affecting entire populations and organizations of care, paying special attention to how these changes affect the Latino elderly.

Healthcare is particularly important for the older population. Persons age 65 and older have the highest overall rates of death, disease and disability, as well as the most frequent and intense use of medical services. U.S. public policy has acknowledged the high medical care needs of many elderly by establishing Medicare as a universal health insurance starting at age 65, and supplementing it with Medicaid, the public-assistance program for low-income older persons.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics and Boston University 2003

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Footnotes

Partial support for this Article has been provided by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), Grant No. P30 AG021684: Resource Center on Minority Aging Research, and the Archstone Foundation, Grant No. 02-03-29. The views expressed in this Article are the authors’ own and do not represent the opinions of policies of the NIA or the Archstone Foundation.

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