LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After Governor Andy Beshear announced he would be seeking to provide health insurance for all Black Kentuckians, community leaders are hoping this is not just the end goal but the beginning steps towards equity in healthcare.
"We want to make sure not only that folks have care but that they have the care that they need,” Lyndon Pryor, the Louisville Urban League chief engagement officer, said. "That honestly is just a start. It is not the totality of this problem or this issue and certainly not the totality of the solution to solve."
The problem of the disparities in health results affecting communities of color, specifically Black Americans, has been well-documented for many years, but the problem has recently drawn renewed attention during the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately affected Black Kentuckians.
"We could foresee these things well into the future,” Pryor said. “We've known about health disparities and health inequities in health in this country for a very long time."
But it is not just the lack of health insurance that has put Black Americans at a higher risk – it’s the quality of care. Pryor said there are also many other documented factors that have contributed to this public health problem, including systemic racism in the healthcare field along with the added stressors that come from discrimination.
But it's not just the lack of healthcare that has put Black Americans at a higher risk. It's also the quality of the care along with systemic racism in the healthcare field along with the added stresses that come from discrimination, clearly seen throughout the country with the recent protests, that need to be addressed.
"The idea that these systems of oppression, these stressors, that this trauma might impact somebody's health is really kind of basic common sense,” he said.
Pryor said in order for the governor’s announcement to truly be effective in making a difference, there has to be a continuous conversation between healthcare professionals, providers, and most importantly, the community.