Here is my second contribution to the Health Justice CT blog: Civil society has to create the solutions to racial and ethnic health disparities.

Some highlights:

The best way to address racial and ethnic health disparities is through civil society, the institutions and relationships formed by the residents of Connecticut without the involvement of the state government.

Unfortunately, many medical charities have stopped using their money to directly help people. Instead, they use the money they raise to lobby the government. Success at this gamble can turn thousands of dollars into millions.

But I would argue this makes charities weaker. They lose direct contact with those they want to serve while mastering the lobbies of Congress and state houses. We know what these skills do to career politicians; imagine what they do to charities.

Recent experience in Connecticut follows a similar trajectory. Gov. Dannel Malloy appointed a former state legislator to work in his administration as a commissioner-level advocate for nonprofits who get funding from the state.

This is a sad confirmation that civil society in Connecticut has all but disappeared in favor of state government.  Even Connecticut’s hospitals, while organized as nonprofits independent of the government, orient themselves towards state funding. This has left hospitals with nowhere to turn when the state announced it would tax them earlier this year.

There’s an interesting tidbit about how Medicaid patients are more likely to die than the uninsured:

Scott Gottlieb, a medical doctor and former advisor to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, wrote about this evidence recently in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, “Medicaid Is Worse Than No Coverage at All.”

Gottlieb, currently an NYU professor and scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, notes that a 2010 study of nearly 1 million surgeries found uninsured patients were 25 percent less likely than Medicaid patients to die in the hospital – even after controlling for socioeconomic and cultural factors.

Read the rest here.

From the Health Justice CT archive:
SustiNet won’t help the uninsured or the most vulnerable