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October 18, 2000
(Austin): Texas’ Hispanic population is facing a health care
crisis that threatens to grow much worse in the near future,
according to the consensus reached today at a symposium sponsored
by the American College of Physicians — American Society of
Internal Medicine, the National Hispanic Medical Association, and
the Commonwealth Fund. The symposium brought together health care
providers, politicians, and business leaders to discuss the
problems facing uninsured Hispanics and suggest solutions.
In 1999, 25 percent of non-elderly Texans, or more than 4.6
million Texans, were uninsured. Hispanics accounted for 38 percent
of the uninsured between 1996 and 1998.
"A lack of insurance puts Hispanics at great risk because they
do not receive routine preventive care that often results in
greater complications or worse symptoms from easily treated
diseases such as diabetes, asthma, or hypertension," said Sandra
Adamson Fryhofer, MD, FACP, president of the ACP-ASIM. "For
example, incidences of diabetes-related end-stage renal disease in
the Hispanic population is up to six times greater than in the
non-Hispanic white population."
The symposium highlighted the fact that in Travis County
(Austin) 152,709 people, 25.5 percent of the population under the
age of 65, were without health insurance in 1999. More than 43,000
were under the age of 18. Nationally, eight out of 10 of the
uninsured live in working families.
The symposium identified a number of current barriers to health
care for Hispanics including:
Some possible solutions identified by the symposium
From the business community suggestions included:
"We urge America’s political leaders to commit themselves to
undertaking a series of sequential steps that will lead to health
insurance for all Americans," said Dr. Fryhofer. "In these
prosperous times, we must make sure no American suffers or dies
needlessly due to a lack of access to health care."
ACP-ASIM is the nation’s largest medical specialty organization
and the second largest physician group. Membership comprises more
than 115,000 internal medicine physicians and medical students.
Editor’s note: The ACP-ASIM report "No Health
Insurance? It’s Enough to Make You Sick: Latino Community at Great"
risk can be found in English and Spanish at www.acponline.org/uninsured.
David Edelson, ACP-ASIM Washington Office, 202-261-4575
Jack Pope, ACP-ASIM Washington Office, 202-261-4556