While outcomes differ among jurisdictions, those who cannot afford an adequate defense are more likely to receive severe penalties. This falls more heavily on Blacks, who have significantly lower income than Whites and are also more likely to be treated prejudicially because of skin color. In the US, race and socioeconomic status combine for an African-American share of incarceration upwards of 35% compared to a 13% population segment.
Some policy makers and their media echo chambers attribute this disparity to a propensity toward crime. However, multiple studies show POC – and Blacks, in particular – are profiled, prosecuted, convicted and jailed at a higher rate than Whites. Certain laws have also had apparently unintended results.
The War on Drugs focused policing on African-American neighborhoods, perceived as hotbeds of sales and use. Crack cocaine, seen as a Black drug, was assigned stiffer penalties than powder cocaine, used more by Whites. Arrest quotas encouraged corruption and evidence planting, and, in turn, increased arrests and convictions. In 1980, about 40,000 drug offenders were in prison; by 2011, the number had ballooned to 500,000, mostly low-level and without prior drug records. Conversely, the opioid ‘epidemic,’ predominant among Whites, is treated as a medical rather than criminal problem.
Efforts to enact modest gun control laws have been hampered in part by racism. The narrative has shifted: from ubiquitous handguns (the Saturday Night Special) to encouragement of gun sales for ‘self-protection’ to gang-owned automatic weapons to open-carry laws. What does not seem to have changed is the expectation that young Black males carry weapons. This expectation has led to the use of lethal force and justification for shootings of unarmed victims.
 Board, The Editorial. “Even College Doesn’t Bridge the Racial Income Gap.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 20 Sept. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/09/20/opinion/college-racial-income-gap.html?_r=0.
The fact that the African American population is the least healthy ethnic group in the USA is not due to chance. African American health care disparities are the culmination of many factors which the GBC have cited as issues for our caucus. African Americans still endure unacceptable health disparities and lack the power over policy and actions that could make the changes to eliminate such disparities. Current mortality disparities are evident in cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and infant mortality. These causes of death may be the most visible health problems for African Americans, but they do not tell the whole story. Mental illness is the second largest cause of morbidity in African Americans, and violence in the form of homicide is the greatest cause of preventable death. High levels of poverty, lack of education, and excess incarceration further compound the poor health status of African Americans.We will seek to ameliorate these disparities through health education, promotion, and advocating for access to healthcare for all. Additionally, we need to streamline our health care system to provide the best health care to all patients, not just the richest.
As Democrats Abroad, many of us are participants in a universal healthcare system and enjoy the health benefits of having readily available, affordable health care. The GBC supports the continuation and improvement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We do not support the repeal of the ACA for a Republican "healthcare" plan. The GBC will work to make Medicare for all Americans a reality by influencing politicians to support universal, single-payer healthcare. We support H.R.676 - Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act introduced by Rep. John Conyers Jr. D-Michigan 13th district and any similar legislation in the Senate.
 Fustos, Kata. “Racial Differences in Health Status and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States.” Racial Differences in Health Status and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States, Population Reference Bureau, Mar. 2011, www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2011/us-health-insurance-racial-differences.aspx.
 Noonan, Allan S., et al. “Improving the Health of African Americans in the USA: an Overdue Opportunity for Social Justice.” Public Health Reviews, BioMed Central, 3 Oct. 2016, https://publichealthreviews.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40985-016-0025-4.
Conyers, John. “H.R.676 - Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act.” Congress.gov, US House of Representatives, 10 Feb. 2017, www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/676.
 The leading causes of death for infants are health issues such as congenital and chromosomal abnormalities, problems related to short gestation and low birthweight, maternal complications of pregnancy, and sudden infant death syndrome. However, infant mortality also includes infant homicide where the highest risk is for Black infants by the mother on the day of birth where the birth does not occur in a hospital and the mother is an unmarried teenage mother without access to health care and a history of mental illness.