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New report finds racial and ethnic health care disparities are dramatic in Arizona

A new report that looks at health outcomes of Americans found considerable disparities between white and nonwhite individuals — even in high-performing states like Massachusetts. In Arizona, those disparities are even more dramatic. 

The report by the Commonwealth Fund, a national health care advocacy organization, looked at the state of health and health care across racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. David Radley co-authored the report. 

In Arizona, Native Americans tended to experience worse outcomes than white people, he explained, "It's basically 73rd percentile in the health care experience for white people in Arizona minus 4th percentile for healthcare experience for American Indians in Arizona. Basically a 69 point gap, if you want to think of it that way. That 69 point gap is bigger than other states in the Southwest."

Which included Colorado, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Native Americans also experienced higher mortality rates from treatable conditions compared to other groups. 

"The rates for Native Americans in Arizona are almost three times higher than they are for white people in the state. They're higher for Black and Hispanic people. too. But the disparities between black and white in Arizona and Hispanic and white Arizona are not nearly as high as the disparities between American Indian and white," Radley said. 

Radley said this was the first year that deaths from COVID-19 were factored into the report, which is considered a preventable disease. 

KJZZ senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.