Leadoff

A Call for Equity

COVID-19 and its safety measures produce disparate hardship for those with the fewest resources.

Headshot of Paul Tufano

© 2018 Guerrero, LLC / Cass Davis

The pandemic is putting a spotlight on health disparities that have hurt low-income populations for decades. These communities have been the hardest hit by the coronavirus, as the stories in this issue attest. Whether about PTSD, telehealth, drone delivery, or other topics, the stories reveal a pandemic connection that further complicates COVID-19 for the communities Medicaid serves.

In so many ways, the virus and its safety measures produce disparate hardship for those with the fewest resources to care for themselves. That’s why an article on the inequities of social distancing caught our eye — and why we asked the writers from Johns Hopkins University to share it as our cover story.

The writers point out how the economic fallout of social distancing is most damaging to the poorest members of society — especially those in communities of color who are often marginalized in the best of times. Many work minimum wage jobs, so have little in savings to buffer the effects of a health crisis. Others work in essential industries like food processing and retail, so are at higher risk of contracting the virus. And yet others find social distancing nearly impossible because they live in congested neighborhoods and multi-family housing or depend on public transportation.

When you read the cover story, you’ll realize how people living in poverty face disadvantages at every turn, which are now even more life-threatening. We must level the playing field not only by identifying gaps in critical resources, but also by doing something about them.

It starts with ensuring equity for all. That was the promise of our forefathers when they signed the U.S. Constitution, with its preamble that says “We the People.” Those words don’t exclude anyone in our society. We just have to live up to them, so that the best our nation offers is in reach for all.

All the best,

Paul A. Tufano
Chairman and CEO