Explore BrainMass

Health Issues Dealing with Social Inequity/Justice and Health

Can someone help me with a summary and examples of what one can do to help with social inequity, and/or social justice and/or health issues that are relevant to the United States?

Solution Preview

Social Justice, Inequality and Health Care:

Health and Human Services reports that there are "large and growing disparities in life expectancy." While general American life expectancy rose from 74 to almost 77 years, this increase only occurred within the more wealthy strata of the US population. The average disparity is about 10 years between the top and the bottom 10 percent of the population (White, 2008).
Possible causes:

1. Lack of health insurance means that poorer people will put off getting physicals or going to the doctor for non-minor problems. Add to this that prices are rising in general. From 2006-2008, the average price for staple items has gone up nearly 10%. While productivity is up, American wages have fallen by about 3% from 2000-2008 (and that is not adjusted for inflation, if inflation is added, then the decrease is about 20%).

2. Medical technology is expensive. Only the wealthiest hospitals and insurance plans can pay for top-end equipment. This equipment is expensive and the technology is getting more expensive. A mid-range ultrasound machine costs about $50,000 a piece. A Phillips CT scanner is close to $200,000. A used, 2002, MRI costs about $150,000. A digital, portable x-ray system is close to $200,000 new. (

3. Poorer people have greater stress in life. Their neighborhoods are not as safe, and they usually buy foods that are cheaper: Ramen, fast food, etc. Needless to say, the poor are not going to shell out money for supplements and vitamins.

4. Poorer people might have lower self-esteem, leaving them vulnerable to depression, which does shorten life and cause physical ailments (Smith, 2009).

To combat this, the HHS has developed an action plan to reduce disparities. Developed between 2010-2011, HHS has reduced its plan to these major items: First, to increase efforts to use medical students and recent MDs to do "national service" in poorer areas of the US, both urban and rural. Second, grants to localities that focus on prevention. Junk food, tobacco and alcohol are targeted as being particularly harmful to human beings, and, since the poor consume these in far greater quantities, it has everything to do with health inequities ...

Solution Summary

The health issues dealing with social inequity/justice and health is examined.