Congressional Black Caucus Seeks Universal Coverage To Address Racial Disparities
Leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus on Sunday called for universal access to health coverage to address disparities in medical care between blacks and whites in the United States, the Chicago Tribune reports. Racial and ethnic minorities in the United States receive lower quality medical care than whites, even in cases in which minorities have comparable health insurance and income levels, according to a report released last year by the Institute of Medicine. National infant mortality rates are 2.5 times higher among blacks than whites, and black youths in urban areas are more likely than white youths to experience asthma, according to the caucus. In addition, blacks are two times more likely to have diabetes; 9.5 times more likely to contract HIV; and more likely to die from cancer, heart disease and stroke than whites, the caucus said. Black men also have life expectancies at least 10 years lower than those of white men, according to the caucus. Caucus member Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) said that the United States has a "separate and unequal" health care system and called for a constitutional amendment to guarantee "equal high-quality health care" from the federal government. Caucus Chair Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) added, "When we said we wanted universal health care, they thought we were crazy, but they didn't understand the passion, because so many of us have seen someone who had died early." Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Danny Davis (D-Ill.) and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) also spoke at the conference, held at the at the Illinois Institute of Technology (Biemer, Chicago Tribune, 6/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.