Still Unequal

Little national progress towards health care equity according to new federal report, “Ending Unequal Treatment,” from the National Academy of Medicine

Co-author Dr. Elaine Batchlor, CEO of MLK Community Healthcare, says it is time to turn data into action

June 2024 Willowbrook, Calif. – The United States must renew its commitment to ending health care inequity and specifically to eliminating the structural obstacles to care than many disadvantaged communities still face, according to Dr. Elaine Batchlor, CEO of MLK Community Healthcare and a co-author of a comprehensive new federal report by the National Academy of Medicine (NAM).

The report, Ending Unequal Treatment: Strategies to Achieve Equitable Health Care and Optimal Health for All, finds that the nation’s current health care system, by its very design, delivers different outcomes for different populations and is highly influenced by external societal forces inextricably linked to disparate individual and population outcomes.

“It is shocking that health care disparities continue to exist between Americans based on their income and the color of their skin,” Batchlor said.  “It is long past time to rectify this situation, which causes needless suffering to millions of our citizens.”

Batchlor is a member of the committee of national experts on health inequities who produced the 346-page report.  The report is a revised and updated edition of a 20-year-old NAM study entitled Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial Bias and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care.  The revised edition finds that America has made little progress and that racial and ethnic inequity remain fundamental flaws in the health care system.


  • Medicaid enrollees have more limited access to needed medical care than those covered by Medicare or private insurance.
  • Comprehensive and sustained efforts to improve health across a continuum of care are essential because temporary and/or incremental reforms often do not improve health equity and may even introduce additional inequities.
  • Inequities also contribute to millions of premature deaths, resulting in loss of years of life and economic productivity, costing the United States hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

Batchlor and co-authors make a series of explicit recommendations on how to eliminate inequity, starting withincreasing health equity research and expanding that research from observational studies to studies of implementation of interventions. 

“These disparities have been staring us in the face for a long time,” she said.  “It’s time to do something about them.”

The report, Ending Unequal Treatment: Strategies to Achieve Equitable Health Care and Optimal Health for All, was released by NAM on June 26th in conjunction with a webinar that is viewable here.

Please contact:

Roxanne Romero Agredano

About MLK Community Healthcare
MLK Community Healthcare (MLKCH) is an integrated healthcare delivery system that serves the medically underserved community of South Los Angeles. MLKCH offers emergency and inpatient care through its hospital, MLK Community Hospital, and primary and specialty care through the MLK Community Medical Group, with practice sites in multiple locations throughout South Los Angeles. MLKCH also offers community health education and outreach to improve the health of our community. Since its opening in 2015, the hospital and health system has earned awards and headlines for its innovative approaches to quality, safety, and patient satisfaction.

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