Medicare as a catalyst for reducing health disparities

Health Aff (Millwood). 2005 Mar-Apr;24(2):365-75. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.24.2.365.


As the nation's largest purchaser and regulator of health care, Medicare is positioned to be a leader in reducing racial and ethnic health disparities. Its leverage was demonstrated in 1966-the year of Medicare's inception-when hospitals desegregated as a condition for receiving Medicare reimbursement. Since then, Medicare has contributed to dramatic improvement in the health of the elderly and disabled minority population, although disparities between minority and white beneficiaries remain. A National Academy of Social Insurance study panel is exploring how Medicare could use its leverage to reduce disparities, for both its beneficiaries and the rest of the nation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cultural Diversity
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Medicare*
  • Professional Competence
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Social Justice*
  • United States / epidemiology