Prior to 1964, racial segregation and discrimination in health care was government funded under the Hospital Survey and Construction Act, better known as the Hill-Burton Act. Specifically, section 622(f) of the Hill- Burton Act proscribed federal funding for “separate but equal” health care services. The United States tried to put an end to racial discrimination in the health care system by intervening in a private action that challenged the constitutionality of the Hill-Burton Act and with the enactment of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned racial discrimination in health care for institutions receiving federal funding. [As a tactic to make health care entities end racial discrimination, the government coupled the requirements of Title VI with participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Before health care entities could become eligible for Medicare and Medicaid funding, the government had to certify the entities' compliance with Title VI. Each action was a blow to the pervasive de jure segregation emblematic of a Jim Crow United States. However, ample evidence shows that the federal government has consistently and systematically failed to enforce Title VI to prohibit racial discrimination in health care. This failure has culminated in the continuation of separate and unequal health care services, resulting in racial inequities in health care. The consignment of African Americans to unequal health services is illustrated by racial inequities faced by elderly African Americans. By reviewing the health inequities faced by elderly African Americans, this paper will show that the central reason for the continuation of these inequities is racial discrimination.
Yearby, Ruqaiijah A., "Striving for Equality, but Settling for the Status Quo in Health Care: Is Title VI More Illusory Than Real?" (2007). All Faculty Scholarship. 76.