We at CHIR are reeling and taking stock in the wake of the tragic and callous murder of George Floyd, as well as the unsurprising unrest caused by our nation’s longstanding indifference to the pain of communities of color. At CHIR, we spend our professional lives focused on improving people’s access to affordable, high quality health insurance. The work is an honor and we believe we are helping to advance policies that allow more people to get better health care without facing financial ruin.
However, we know we have privileges we too often take for granted and that, at times, have blinded us to well-documented inequities in our health care system. The fact is that we have not thought deeply enough about the longstanding and structural racism that makes it more likely that Black, Hispanic, and Native American/Alaskan Native people are uninsured, more likely to suffer from high out-of-pocket costs, more likely to lack access to providers, and more likely to get poor quality care. We can and must do more. As researchers and policy analysts, we can study the data to better understand the challenges facing communities of color. We can proactively seek out voices in those communities who are documenting and sharing their lived experiences. We can consciously and carefully assess the disparate impacts of policy choices, and work a lot harder to lift up those policies that lift up people of color. We don’t pretend that our efforts to learn about these issues and integrate them into our work in a deeper and more conscious way will make a big difference, but they could make a small difference. What we realize is that these efforts are essential to our mission and values.
We would love to hear from you. If you know of ways in which we can better integrate these important issues into our work and share them with decision makers, please let us know.