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Dr. Jonathan Metzl addresses how race impacts public health

Categories: Blog

With data that was empirical as well as observational, Dr. Jonathan Metzl laid out the case that efforts to block Medicaid expansion or cut education spending, driven by deep-seated racial bias, ended up hurting whites and minorities alike.

In a side-by-side comparison between two demographically-similar states, Kentucky and Tennessee, Medicaid expansion in the former led to demonstrably better healthcare outcomes for the residents of that state. Similarly, drastic cuts in education spending in Kansas led to worse outcomes for minority and white students alike. And in Missouri, an about-face on gun laws has shown a staggering increase in gun deaths due to suicide in the very group purchasing the most guns: white males.

Because racial animus underpins many of the strong feelings fueling these laws and policy positions, it may require a national reckoning on race before working-class whites can decouple their racial identity with their voting positions. 

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