Report highlights health care inequities between Black and white Floridians


Ethan Kispert


Black Floridians on average have poorer health outcomes, worse access to health care, and lower quality of care compared to the state’s white population, according to a report from The Commonwealth Fund. 

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Poor health outcomes

One metric that stands out is hospital readmission rates. 

According to The Commonwealth Fund, Black Floridians were readmitted at a rate of 79 instances per 1,000 beneficiaries, as compared to the national average of 60. 

This metric is in stark comparison to the rate of white Floridians, who had a rate of 41 readmissions per 1,000 beneficiaries. 

In conjunction with a higher readmission rate, Black Floridians also had a higher rate of mortality amenable to health care, which represents the number of deaths from diseases that could’ve been prevented with earlier treatment. 

In this area, the Black population had a rate of 137 deaths per 100,000 people — a rate that was lower than the U.S. average of 153, but higher than the rate of 82 for white Floridians.


Image: The Commonwealth Fund


Black Floridians also saw higher rates of breast cancer deaths among women with 25 per 100,000 women, and a higher rate of colorectal cancer deaths at 16 deaths per 100,000 people. These rates were still above those of Florida’s white population at 19 and 13, respectively. 


Health care access

According to The Commonwealth Fund, 22% of Florida’s Black population didn’t have health insurance. That’s higher than the national percentage of 14% and the percentage of white Floridians at 15%. 

Cost was a contributing factor behind these numbers. 

The percentage of Black Floridians who opted out of health insurance due to cost sits at 20%. This percentage was not only higher than the national average of 15% for uninsured Black individuals, but was also above 12% for white Floridians. 

With a lower rate of health insurance came a lower rate of care. 

The percentage of Black Floridians who had a usual source of care, which is a doctor or health care provider that they go to on a regular basis, sits at 72%. Not only was this rate lower than the national average of 78%, but also lower than 77% for white Floridians. 


Health care quality

Black Floridians fell short in various health care quality metrics compared to white Floridians. 

Preventable hospitalizations among those 65 and older was at 70 people per 100,000 for Black Floridians. This number was higher than the national average of 59 and higher than the number of 40 for white Floridians. 

A similar trend was observed for visits to the emergency room. 

For Black Floridians, the number of potentially avoidable emergency department visits for those 65 and older sat at 287 per 1,000 beneficiaries. This was on par with the national average of 290 but higher than 180 for white Floridians.