Black patients in Pennsylvania are more than twice as likely to die prematurely of treatable health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, when compared with white patients, according to a new report.
Pennsylvania reported a mortality rate due to treatable conditions among Black individuals of 162.1 deaths per 100,000 people — more than twice the 74.2 deaths per 100,000 people among white individuals in 2016 and 2017, according to a new report by the Commonwealth Fund. Hispanic individuals in Pennsylvania had an even lower death rate of 70.8 per 100,000.
The findings are in line with a national trend of racial disparities in health care that analysts fear is worsening due to COVID-19.
“There’s no doubt the pandemic has exacerbated these weaknesses in our health-care system,” David Blumenthal, president of the Commonwealth Fund, said in a call with reporters Thursday.
The Commonwealth Fund’s annual state health scorecard found a decline in life expectancy, in part due to widening race disparities and a rise in so-called deaths of despair — those related to drugs, suicide and alcohol. Among the report’s findings:
Rising rates of the uninsured and health-care costs could worsen people’s health and lead to even shorter life expectancy, according to the report.
“The gains made in health insurance coverage since the Affordable Care Act have either stalled or eroded, and racial and ethnic inequities in coverage are at risk of getting worse during the pandemic,” Sara Collins, a coauthor of the study and vice president for health-care coverage and access at the Commonwealth Fund, said in a statement.