New Web Site for Minority Health Links Health Disparities and Cost of Health Care

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Health Power for Minorities (Health Power), an organization that provides health information and health promotion services for minority/multicultural health improvement, launched its nationally unique web site with a focus on the link between racial and ethnic health disparities and decreasing the cost of health care reform. Well-documented racial and ethnic health disparities contribute substantially to the high cost of U.S. health care. Reducing health disparities can significantly decrease the cost of medical care because diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, stroke, hypertension, arthritis, and some cancers are among the most costly to treat. In fact, the prevention, early detection and control of obesity and other chronic diseases among all Americans would markedly decrease the national cost burden.

Clearly, without a national plan to end racial and ethnic health disparities, it is impossible to reduce health care cost, provide access to quality health care to all, and guarantee for our children a nation that remains a global leader in this millennium

Health Power for Minorities (Health Power®), an organization that provides health information and health promotion services for minority/multicultural health improvement, launched its nationally unique web site with a focus on the link between decreasing racial and ethnic health disparities (health disparities), and decreasing the cost of health care reform. Google lists Health Power's web site, http://www.healthpowerforminorities.org, No. 1 among more than 1.8 million sources of 'health information for minorities.' It provides authoritative, user-friendly, and culturally relevant health related information and promotion services for disease prevention, early detection and control.

Given the present national climate of conflict, confusion, and uncertainty about the financial feasibility of various health care reform proposals, the leading initial focus of Health Power's web site is the link between decreasing health disparities in the nation, and markedly decreasing the high cost of health care, that can contribute greatly to achieving meaningful health care reform, irrespective of approach. Norma J. Goodwin, M.D., President of Health Power® and a nationally recognized minority health expert, emphasizes that "significantly decreasing health disparities in the steadily increasing national proportion of racial and ethnic populations, provides a major cost saving opportunity related to health care reform."

The September 2009 study of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, The Economic Burden of Health Inequalities in the United States, conducted by leading researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland and funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, found that more than 30 % of direct medical costs of African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans were excess costs due to health inequities, with more than $230 billion over a four year period. When the associated indirect costs are added, the total is 1.24 trillion.

Decreasing health disparities would also decrease the cost of medical care because diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, stroke, hypertension, and cancer are among the most costly to treat (See Our Major Killers and Disablers). For example, whereas the prevalence of obesity for all U.S. women is 31%, it is nearly 50% for Black and Hispanic women; and, in year 2000 alone, obesity-related U.S. health care costs totaled an estimated $17 billion. In fact, the prevention and control of such chronic diseases among all Americans would markedly decrease the national cost burden.

Many leading national health organizations actively advocate eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities including the: National Medical Association, National Hispanic Medical Association, Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Coalition (REHDC), Intercultural Cancer Council, Institute of Medicine, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, Howard University College of Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Health Power.

"Clearly, without a national plan to end racial and ethnic health disparities, it is impossible to reduce health care cost, provide access to quality health care to all, and guarantee for our children a nation that remains a global leader in this millennium," notes Fredette West, Chair, REHDC. Dr. Goodwin also emphasizes that "an increasingly diverse workforce, if less healthy, will likely result in decreased national productivity. Further, closing the health disparities gap will also markedly close the nation's financial gap."

The Health Power web site, Google's leading source of 'health information for minorities' provides: information and promotion services for women, men, teens, parents and aging populations; channels for African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans and American Indians; channels for preventive health and wellness including: Food and Fitness, Mental Health, and Spiritual Health; and the Our Major Killers and Disablers Channel, which addresses multiple conditions (health disparities) associated with excess illness, greater disability, and/or premature death in minority/multicultural populations.

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Norma Goodwin, M.D.
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