For many Democrats, the Democratic platform leaves a lot to be desired: there’s no call to defund the police, nor a call to ban fracking, nor a call for Medicare-for-all, nor even a call for legalizing marijuana at a time when states could really use some additional tax money. With regard to the goal of eliminating racial and ethnic healthcare inequalities the Democratic platform also falls short.
Party platforms are often aspirational, not practical, not achievable. They’re wish lists of sorts, not weighed down by interparty political constraints. As wish lists, they reveal something about the character of the wisher.
The Democratic platform, with its barely-there mention of healthcare disparities, reads:
We are going to at last build the health care system the American people have always deserved: one that finally provides universal health care coverage; reduces prescription drug prices, premiums, and out-of-pocket costs; reins in overall health care expenses; and tackles the deep-seated inequities in our health care system. We will build a health care system that is driven by the needs of patients and the people who care for them, instead of the profit motives of corporations. We will tackle entrenched racial disparities in health care, reduce prescription drug prices by standing up to big pharmaceutical companies, and make it easier to access mental health and substance use disorder treatment and long-term services and supports in metropolitan and rural areas alike.
This is the extent of the discussion of racial and ethnic disparities in the healthcare we receive. There’s nothing in the way of details, nothing in the way of a plan, nothing to suggest that the party really cares about the disparities.
That’s not to say those of us who do really care about the disparities should do anything other than vote Democrat in the fall. But, we should not assume that a vote for the Democrats will be meaningful in eliminating these disparities without a lot of additional advocacy.