Experts: Reparations could help address health inequities

With COVID-19 highlighting the health disparities between Black and white Americans, a growing number of public health experts are calling for cash reparations to address the inequities.

“Cash restitution would save lives,” said Mary Bassett, François-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, in a November 6, 2020 KSRO article. “There is a strong positive correlation between socioeconomic status or income and health outcomes, including mortality.”

While there are many ways to approach reparations, Bassett said that, as a public health expert, she is focused on financial compensation “because of the strong tie between health and financial resources.” But she acknowledged that cash restitution alone won’t be enough to ease stark health disparities. “A racial hierarchy that has endured for 400 years is unlikely to simply disappear,” she said. “It will take more than reparations.”

Read the KSRO article: Some experts propose reparations as solution for decades of racial health inequities

Learn more

Perspective: How Black reparations could end health disparities (Harvard Chan School news)