Double jeopardy: Latinx community faces disproportionate access to healthcare due to COVID-19 | Opinion
Social inequalities between racial groups in America have led to disproportionate access to economic opportunities and health care. For decades, the Latinx community living in the United States has experienced multiple economic and health challenges that limit their access to high quality, healthy living. These inequalities not only delay their dreams, but also put their lives at risk due to limited access to medical treatment, since the lack of employment produces a financial limitation to pay for basic human needs.
Limited access to basic health services due to the unemployment crisis facing the Latinx community is increasing the death rate within this community. Social action is needed; there is no time to wait. Since the onset of COVID-19, low-income Latinx people have experienced increased limitations in accessing health care due to the financial crisis produced by the lack of employment. The lack of economic support and employment opportunities given to the Latinx community during this pandemic has led to a marked increase in disparities in access to health care, due to the high cost of medical treatment. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center70% of Hispanic adults do not have financial reserves to pay for emergency expenses when they are made redundant.
Additionally, COVID-19 has resulted in the closure of many businesses that provide employment opportunities to this community. As a result, families in this community face economic hardship and greater risk of illness or death, as they are unable to afford medical treatment when they need it. COVID-19 is exacerbating inequalities across many employment sectors that contribute to the financial crisis Latinx families continue to face and disparities in access to medical treatment. According to American Progress Center, Latin women have experienced a greater decline in their labor force rate. In April 2020, 20.1% of Latinas were unemployed due to the pandemic, and by January 2021, one million fewer Latinas were employed. Subsequently, the lack of employment opportunities leads many Latinx families to not only encounter economic problems, but creates limits on access to health services.
The loss of employment, which was the largest among minority groups during COVID-19, is one of the main causes of loss of medical insurance coverage. An analysis carried out in 2020 by Swallows, a non-partisan health care consultancy organization, showed that if six percent of white residents were to lose their job-based health insurance due to the pandemic, 13% of Hispanics lost their health-based insurance. on employment. Unfortunately, these challenges not only reduce and limit the financial income of many Latinx families, but also prevent them from accessing and pursuing any medical treatment, further increasing the negative impact of COVID-19.
Apart from this, the effects of disparities are compounded by the lack of affordable opportunities for minority groups. While people who have been laid off can access the Affordable Care Act for coverage and obtain federal grants such as unemployment to pay for their needs, this aid may not offer any out-of-pocket expenses such as medical treatments, deductibles or premiums. As a result, many people forgo routine preventive care and avoid going to hospital when suffering from COVID-19, which could lead to more serious illness and possibly death.
It is essential to address the economic and health disparities that minority groups such as the Latinx community face during COVID-19. It is necessary to act and change the social system to create programs that allow all minority groups to have equal access to economic and medical opportunities. The humanitarian crisis produced by COVID-19 has affected and continues to impact the lives of the most vulnerable. Access to equal opportunities in employment and health care, regardless of ethnicity, socio-economic status or race, should be offered to all. It is necessary to create a social change in our society, in which social inequalities are no longer present: in which minority groups no longer pay the consequences of this global crisis.
This is the opinion of Katherine hernandez, a junior communication student from Guatemala. Email your comments to [email protected]. Follow and tweet comments on @LALoyolan on Twitter, and like Loyolan on Facebook.