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This Article focuses on the role of conscious and unconscious racial bias in the delivery of care; it does not begin to address the larger issue of inadequate access to care at the outset. Improving access to health care for minorities will undoubtedly have a positive effect on these groups' overall health status; however, to the extent that racial bias in the delivery of care exists apart from problems of inadequate access, the disparity in health status between whites and African Americans will no doubt continue.

Part II of this Article describes racial disparities in a variety of health care contexts including the utilization of Medicare services, the selection of recipients for cadaveric organ transplantation, access to drug therapy, institutionalization for mental illness, and the representation of racial and ethnic minority groups in clinical research. Part II closes with a discussion of some of the problems inherent in measuring the degree of the disparate care problem and in isolating and evaluating the role that race plays in health care decisionmaking. Part III suggests potential solutions to the problem of disparate medical care for racial minorities, including possible constitutional and statutory remedies for past victims of disparate treatment, avenues for governmental enforcement of policies prohibiting discrimination, and other approaches for avoiding future inequalities in the delivery of medical services. This Article concludes that prospective approaches, such as education and regulatory responses to patterns of disparate care, provide the most promising avenues for addressing this troubling problem.


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Recommended Citation

35 San Diego L. Rev. 135 (1998)