Lessons for achieving health equity comparing Aotearoa/New Zealand and the United States

from Health Policy at http://bit.ly/2KwFy5V on June 29, 2018 at 12:52PM

Publication date: Available online 28 June 2018
Source:Health Policy
Author(s): Marshall H. Chin, Paula T. King, Rhys G. Jones, Bryn Jones, Shanthi N. Ameratunga, Naoko Muramatsu, Sarah Derrett

Aotearoa/New Zealand (Aotearoa/NZ) and the United States (U.S.) suffer inequities in health outcomes by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. This paper compares both countries’ approaches to health equity to inform policy efforts. We developed a conceptual model that highlights how government and private policies influence health equity by impacting the healthcare system (access to care, structure and quality of care, payment of care), and integration of healthcare system with social services. These policies are shaped by each country’s culture, history, and values. Aotearoa/NZ and U.S. share strong aspirational goals for health equity in their national health strategy documents. Unfortunately, implemented policies are frequently not explicit in how they address health inequities, and often do not align with evidence-based approaches known to improve equity. To authentically commit to achieving health equity, nations should: 1) Explicitly design quality of care and payment policies to achieve equity, holding the healthcare system accountable through public monitoring and evaluation, and supporting with adequate resources; 2) Address all determinants of health for individuals and communities with coordinated approaches, integrated funding streams, and shared accountability metrics across health and social sectors; 3) Share power authentically with racial/ethnic minorities and promote indigenous peoples’ self-determination; 4) Have free, frank, and fearless discussions about impacts of structural racism, colonialism, and white privilege, ensuring that policies and programs explicitly address root causes.