Health equity affects all of us—either directly or indirectly—and the lack of equity could be pushing us into a financial crisis. Health equity is the fair and just opportunity for every individual to achieve their full potential in all aspects of health and well-being. Health inequities cost us $320 billion a year. If we don’t change course, that number could reach $1 trillion by 2040.
In 2001, the National Academy of Medicine published Crossing the Quality Chasm, which highlighted equitable care as a priority in health care. While many health care organizations have focused on health equity since that report, the care patients receive (and the outcomes they experience) can still vary widely by race, age, income, ethnicity, gender, and ZIP code.