There is an old saying which says "Health is Wealth," and for many individuals, this is true. The great Mahatma Gandhi subscribed to this notion and claimed that "it is health which is real wealth, and not pieces of gold and silver". The author of this paper maintains that both health and wealth are vital in life, as they decide the quality of life persons lead. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Hence, health is a level of functional proficiency and overall state of one's mind, body and spirit. Thus, the modified saying now states "a healthy nation is a wealthy nation." However, why are some nations wealthier than others? Do we all have equal access to health care? Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to delve into the inequalities faced by certain groups in society in relation to access to health care. .
Firstly, the author will define the terms discrimination, racism and ethnicity, as they are vital to the discussion of equal access to health care. According to dictionary.com, discrimination refers to making a distinction in favor of or against a person or thing based on the group, class or category that a person or thing belongs to rather than on individual merit. Therefore, discrimination occurs when an individual is not treated equally due to their religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, race or ethnicity. In addition, when a person is unfairly treated due to their skin color or race, they are considered to be victims of racism. Ethnicity, as stated by dictionary.com, is a group of people sharing a common and distinctive culture, religion and language. Many people are ignorant about different cultures and it is the author's view that stereotypes and discrimination are generated from this lack of knowledge. .
The United States is home to a hodgepodge of races, cultures and ethnicities, and with this mixture comes issues of discrimination and racism.