Know Your Rights to Get the Healthcare You Deserve
Too many minority and low-income Americans do not have access to the health care they need. The COVID-19 pandemic increased awareness of these inequities, and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has a Health Equity Bill of Rights to balance the injustices.
Healthcare disparities have many effects, including:
- Uneven access to medical services
- Gaps in in health insurance coverage
- Worse health outcomes — especially when it comes to the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes
At Stand Against Amputation, we support the association’s goal in combatting systemic racism in healthcare. Education and empowerment are the first steps toward equal healthcare for all.
Not Enough Doctors Take Black People’s Pain Seriously
122 million Americans live with diabetes and prediabetes and Black Americans are 60% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than other races, according to the ADA. The association reports that Black men are also twice as likely to die from diabetes.
There are many factors that contribute to this healthcare imbalance. Access to insurance is critical. The ADA reports that people of color account for over 75% of low-income Americans.
“Some healthcare providers also approach Black patients with a bias,” says Dr. Robert Gabbay, the ADA’s Chief Medical Officer. “Not enough doctors take Black people’s pain seriously. They may not prescribe the medication, diet or exercise regimen in the same way for a white patient. Untreated diabetes can then lead to worse health problems and other serious illnesses.
Diabetes is also a powerful risk factor for peripheral arteryArteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart and other parts of your body. disease (PAD). Amputation is a common treatment for advanced stages of PAD, and Black people are twice as likely to get an amputation than Caucasians.47 Amputation should be avoided, as it can put your life at risk.25
Inaction on health inequities is not an option.
The Health Equity Bill of Rights
The American Diabetes Association has created the Health Equity Bill of Rights to help spread awareness about how inequity systemically harms people of color. The ADA envisions a future without unjust health disparities. That dream starts with knowing your rights:
- The right to access insulin and other drugs affordably – People with diabetes should be able to get the medication they need.
- The right to healthy food – Diabetes rates are inversely related to income level. Nutrition is critical to diabetes prevention and management.
- The right to insurance that covers diabetes management and future cures – It’s essential that all people with or at risk of diabetes are covered by robust health insurance.
- The right not to face stigma or discrimination – Every American with diabetes should be able to live and work free of discrimination and stigma.
- The right to avoid preventable amputations – Every American with diabetes should have access to the care necessary to prevent diabetes-related amputations.
- The right to participate in clinical trials without fear – Medical research has a troubling history of mistreatment of minorities. Every effort must be made to protect a diverse range of participants in drug trials.
- The right to stop prediabetes from becoming diabetes – Every American should have access to culturally and linguistically appropriate diabetes testing, care, counseling and other resources necessary to prevent diabetes onset.
- The right to a built environment that does not put you at greater risk for getting diabetes – All Americans are entitled to access to an environment that allows for a healthy lifestyle.
- The right to the latest medical advances – The latest advances in diabetes management should be accessible for all.
- The right to have your voice heard – Every community should have a say in how their needs can best be addressed.
Download the Health Equity Bill of Rights to learn more about #HealthyEquityNow. We can have a future where everyone has equal access to healthcare – regardless of race, income, zip code, age, education or gender.
For More Information
Education and empowerment are also important for PAD. Don’t accept amputation before getting a second opinion. Learn more about how PAD progresses and use our Find a Doctor tool to locate a PAD specialist.