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Health Reform is About You and Me, Not One or the Other
Date:12/7/2009

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is an op-ed written by Fredette West, Director, African American Health Alliance:


In all of the talk about how can the nation can pay for health reform; and in all the talk about where can we find savings; and in all the talk about finding "off-sets" -- media, legislators, and analysts, I point your attention to study findings by researchers, including recent studies from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland. A major portion of the answer to questions about where can money be found is "eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities." By doing so, we could save over $57 billion each year from direct healthcare costs.

To achieve these record savings means putting an end to substandard healthcare for racial and ethnic minorities. Communities of color deal with substandard healthcare that lacks quality, accessibility, and appropriateness. Inadequate care leads to health disparities that affect individuals whether they are insured, underinsured, or uninsured; and regardless of their educational attainment or socioeconomic status.

These health disparities result in prolonged illnesses, needless disabilities, and premature deaths for thousands of American citizens. This exacts a devastating human and economic toll. It doesn't have to be this way.

While some of the provisions in the bill appear to address the issue of health disparities, in its current form the bill will not eliminate health disparities to the extent we need and that it is capable of without a targeted, deliberate strategy to eliminate health disparities. With respect to communities of color whether insured, underinsured, or uninsured, to maximize the health improvement benefits from the health reform bill requires the inclusion of provisions in the bill for the development and implementation of a National Strategy to End Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. And, cl
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SOURCE African American Health Alliance
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