A Look at Health Care Equality on MLK Day

King's views on the disparity in health care are especially relevant today while the U.S. is in the midst of health care reform.

As Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, people took a look at how far social equality has come since the time of the great civil rights leader. King’s views on the disparity in health care are especially relevant today while the U.S. is in the midst of health care reform.

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane,” King said

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Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, released a statement before the holiday, honoring King and using his quote to support health care law, which the Supreme Court will rule on this year.

“As a department, we are committed to ensuring that all Americans achieve health equity by eliminating disparities and doing what we can to improve the health of all groups, including the poor and underserved,” Sebelius wrote.

She called the Affordable Care Act the most important way that HHS is improving health, specifically in that coverage will be expanded to 34 million American and that insurance companies won’t be able to deny coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

Despite that, there is definite inequality when it comes to health insurance. The Kaiser Family Founder reported that in 2010 almost a third of Hispanics and 22% of blacks were uninsured. However, only 14% of whites were uninsured. Forty-one percent of low-income adults and 45% of poor adults were uninsured.

Philadelphia Inquirer

An opinion piece for the says that the ACA addresses exactly those disparities that King fought to fix.

“Perhaps one of the greatest contributors to continuing health disparities in the United States is insurance coverage. There is a demonstrated link between poor health and lack of insurance. And while minorities make up roughly a third of the U.S. population, they account for more than half the nation's uninsured.”

at the 1966 convention of the Medical Committee for Human Rights