HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Health Disparities and Root Causes

Section 4302 of the Affordable Care Act required consistent data collection standards regarding self-reported race, ethnicity, sex, primary language and disability status. The standards are published here, the HHS fact sheet is here. In announcing them Secretary Sebelius stated. "Today, through these new standards, we are providing a new set of powerful tools to help us achieve our vision of a nation free of disparities in health and health care," here. However, in a sobering piece for Politico, here, Lester Feder notes that, "there are limits to what they can actually do about the problem. The root causes, public health experts say, are social forces such as poverty, poor schools and crumbling infrastructure that are outside the control of the Department of Health and Human Services." [NPT]

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