Politics

New Report: Race Helps Drive Healthcare Debate

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Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Coordinator, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

Blacks, Latinos Support Law; White Opposition Correlates With Racial Bias

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA – A new report finds a startling racial dimension to the ongoing debate about efforts to repeal or de-fund the national healthcare reform law enacted last year. The analysis of national survey data by Greenlining Institute Research Director Daniel Byrd, Ph.D., finds strong support for the Affordable Care Act among racial minorities, while among white voters, racial bias correlated with opposition to the law.

“Race seems to be the big, unmentioned elephant in the room in the healthcare debate,” Dr. Byrd said. “Not only are blacks, Latinos, and other people of color more likely than whites to support the healthcare law, whites who show evidence of bias – what social scientists call ‘racial resentment’ – are more likely to oppose it than whites who aren’t racially resentful.”

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Byrd and Greenlining Health Program Managers Carla Saporta and Rosa Martinez analyzed data from the summer 2010 Panel Recontact wave of the 2008-2009 American National Election Panel Survey. This survey, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan and Stanford University, is widely used by social scientists who study political behavior. In the survey, 38.4 percent of whites supported the healthcare law, compared to 78.6 percent of blacks, 52.6 percent of Latinos and 43.6 of people from other racial groups.  Racially resentful whites were less likely to support the law than non-resentful whites, even after controlling for such factors as income, age, educational attainment, employment status, political ideology, and whether or not the respondent had health insurance.

The full report, “The Role of Race in the Healthcare Debate,” is available online here.