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Minority and Women's Advocacy Groups Send Letter to California Attorney General Jerry Brown Requesting Investigation Into Discrimination by Health Insurance Companies
Date:7/31/2009

Healthy African American Families, Familia Unida and For Grace to Call for Official Look Into Insurance Company Practices that Deny California Communities Access to Pain Medications

LOS ANGELES, July 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- California patient advocacy organizations Healthy African American Families, Familia Unida, and For Grace today sent a letter to California Attorney General Jerry Brown requesting an investigation into discriminatory practices by health insurance companies that deny entire California communities access to critical and often life-saving medications.

The full text of the letter read:

Dear Attorney General Brown,

We are writing to ask that your office investigate an unscrupulous health insurer practice that denies California patients in pain access to critical medication. We are concerned that this insurer practice particularly discriminates against African American and Latino families, those living with disabilities, and women, especially those in low-income communities.

California insurers, including Blue Shield, refuse to initially cover doctor-prescribed and FDA-approved treatments. Some insurers require that patients fail on up to five medicines before they can have access to the one the doctor initially prescribed.

The result of this practice is that members of minority and low-income communities are denied access to new and better medications, and that they experience prolonged pain and often deteriorating health.

When health insurers deny patients access to timely and effective treatment, those who need medicine for chronic pain - including Californians suffering from arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and diabetic peripheral neuropathy (a painful diabetes-related nerve condition) - are especially hurt. It is not only unethical, but cruel
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SOURCE Healthy African American Families
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