Reconsidering Health Disparities
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The 1990s were a prosperous decade in the United States. The Economic Report of the President noted that during the 1990s, the economic performance of the United States was both outstanding and sustainable. Between 1980 and 1996, median family income rose with each higher level of education for men and women in each racial/ethnic group. The year 1998 was an exceptional economic benchmark, with "the best performance in a generation." Dramatically, however, the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, changed the economic underpinnings of our society and threatened the potential health status of the nation. As resources shift to support defense and economic slowdown is forecasted, decisions regarding allocation of both public and private resources for health and welfare are likely to be reexamined. Recent Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) allocations of $2.9 billion in fiscal year 2002 for bioterrorism preparedness demonstrate that the national government will develop measures to preserve and protect the economic viability and health of the population.