Racial discrimination has intensified in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic, but how it disrupted healthcare is largely unknown. This study investigates the association of racial discrimination with delaying or forgoing care during the pandemic based on data from a nationally representative survey, the Health, Ethnicity and Pandemic (HEAP) study (n = 2552) conducted in October 2020 with Asians, Hispanics and non-Hispanic Blacks oversampled. Racial discrimination during the pandemic was assessed in three domains: experienced racial discrimination, race-related cyberbullying, and Coronavirus racial bias beliefs. Respondents answered whether they had delayed or forgone any type of healthcare due to the pandemic. Overall, 63.7% of respondents reported delaying or forgoing any healthcare during the pandemic. About 20.3% East/Southeast Asians, 18.6% non-Hispanic Blacks and 15.9% Hispanics reported experiences of racial discrimination, compared with 2.8% of non-Hispanic Whites. Experienced racial discrimination was associated with delaying/forgoing care among non-Hispanic Blacks (Adjusted odds ratios[AOR] = 4.58, 95% confidence interval[CI]: 2.22–9.45), Hispanics (AOR = 3.88, 95%CI: 1.51–9.98), and East/Southeast Asians (AOR = 2.14, 95%CI: 1.22–3.77). Experiencing race-related cyberbullying was significantly associated with delaying/forgoing care among non-Hispanic Blacks (AOR = 1.34, 95%CI: 1.02–1.77) and East/Southeast Asians (AOR = 1.51, 95%CI: 1.19–1.90). Coronavirus racial bias was significantly associated with delaying/forgoing care among East/Southeast Asians (AOR = 1.55, 95%CI: 1.16–2.07). The three domains of racial discrimination were consistently associated with delayed or forgone health care among East/Southeast Asians during the COVID-19 pandemic; some of the associations were also seen among non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics. These results demonstrate that addressing racism is important for reducing disparities in healthcare delivery during the pandemic and beyond.
Elsevier, Preventive Medicine, Volume 162, September 2022