California’s Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC)* continue to experience persistent health disparities arising from systemic racism that blocks access to the resources and opportunities needed to achieve good health. In turn, these disparities are not just differences, but inequities, which include a safety net that fails to provide every human-being with their basic needs for health care, nutrition, and housing.
Although federal and state legislation including the Affordable Care Act (ACA, 2010) and Medi-Cal expansions have greatly improved the safety net’s reach, these changes are insufficient. Lack of interpreter services, culturally competent care, geographically distant providers and high cost-sharing remain barriers to essential health care for communities of color.
These health disparities take place in the context of a diverse California. Already, over half of all Californians identify as non-White, highlighting the importance of eliminating these long-standing inequities. The COVID-19 pandemic increased the urgency of this task, demonstrating how heath disparities and unequal access to health care, jobs and housing disproportionately harm communities of color, but in the end hurt us all.
The Landscape of Opportunity provides an overview of the current state of health disparities and challenges facing California. It serves as a resource for advocates and policymakers alike, highlighting key areas where inequities persist that are ripe for future action to advance health equity.