Still closing the gap

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Health Affairs


Volume 28, Issue 4

Inclusive Pages



Civil Rights--history; Community Health Services--history; Healthcare Disparities; Safety Net; Civil Rights; Disparities


The summer of 2009 is forty-four years after the enactment of Medicaid and the desegregation of the whites-only grade school in Durant, Mississippi. Yet too much of American medical care today still carries the legacy of the Durant Attendance Center—separate and lethally unequal. One friend who is a policy veteran isfond of saying, "If we’re so smart and hard-working, howhave we let it come to this?" A frequent hopeful comment amongmany colleagues is something to the effect of, "If not now,when?" The answer that calls back is NOW. For Ali, for millionsof patients, and for us as a nation, we need to bury that legacyforever—in the summer of 2009.