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State- and Provider-Level Racism and Health Care in the U.S.

      Introduction

      This study examines the associations between state-level and provider sources of racism and healthcare access and quality for non-Hispanic Black and White individuals.

      Methods

      Data from 2 sources were integrated: (1) data from the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Consumer Survey of Health Care Access (2014–2019), which included measures of self-reported healthcare access, healthcare quality, and provider racial discrimination and (2) administrative data compiled to index state-level racism. State-level racism composite scores were calculated from federal sources (U.S. Census, Department of Labor, Department of Justice). The data set comprised 21,030 adults (n=2,110 Black, n=18,920 White) who needed care within the past year. Participants were recruited from a national panel, and the survey employed age–insurance quotas. Logistic and linear regressions were conducted in 2020, adjusting for demographic, geographic, and health-related covariates.

      Results

      Among White individuals, more state-level racism was associated with 5% higher odds of being able to get care and 6% higher odds of sufficient time with provider. Among Black individuals, more state-level racism was associated with 8% lower odds of being able to get care. Provider racial discrimination was also associated with 80% lower odds of provider explaining care, 77% lower odds of provider answering questions, and 68% lower odds of sufficient time with provider.

      Conclusions

      State-level racism may engender benefits to healthcare access and quality for White individuals and may decrease access for Black individuals. Disparities may be driven by both White advantage and Black disadvantage. State-level policies may be the actionable levers of healthcare inequities with implications for preventive medicine.
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