Racial and ethnic groups in the United States continue to experience major health disparities compared to the majority of the non-Hispanic white population.
The health status of Hispanics and other underserved populations is a function of several factors including language barriers, insurance
coverage, socioeconomic conditions, and access to health care.
Although mortality is a crude indication of health status, it demonstrates the critical disparities that exist for racial and ethnic minorities.
For some groups these disparities begin early in life and are sustained until death.
For many racial and ethnic minorities, lacking health insurance creates a barrier to accessing basic health care and exacerbates chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer by delaying diagnosis and reducing effective disease management and treatment.
Access to health care is a problem, not only for Hispanics, but also for non-Hispanic blacks, American Indians and Alaska Natives, who are second only to Hispanics in lacking health insurance.