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Tubbs Jones Addresses Health Disparities Issue During Hearing

WASHINGTON, June 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones addressed the issue of health disparities during a Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Hearing. Her opening remarks in part are as follows.

"Mr. Chairman, I am appreciative of the opportunity to address the important issue of health disparities as we continue to move forward with health reform discussions.

"This is an issue of great importance, not just to my district, but to districts across the country. The time has arrived to give health disparities a voice in health reform discussions. The IOM report, Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities in Healthcare, studied the health gap between minority and non-minority Americans. Unequal Treatment was released over 5 years ago. Sadly, not much has changed.

"Some say that health disparities are a "myth." They are not a myth in the 11th Congressional District of Ohio or any other part of the United States. Racial and ethnic minorities disproportionately suffer from certain health conditions, many do not have access to a regular source of care, and they are a large number of the 47 million uninsured Americans. They are diagnosed for cancer at later stages, and as a result of a lack of access coverage, are more likely to die from preventable, treatable cancers. Diabetes rates for racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately higher. As a result, End Stage Renal Disease disproportionately impacts racial and ethnic minorities.

"As we move forward on health reform, stakeholders need to be aware that health care is not a level playing field. Racial and ethnic minorities suffer disproportionately from certain illnesses, often lack access to care, and do not receive the same quality of care. Do we blame people for this, or take the necessary steps to reduce the burden of chronic conditions and diseases?

"Based on the testimony today, I am sure that we will heighten the awareness of racial and ethnic health disparities, and that this will be just the beginning of discussions on the importance of addressing health disparities as we move toward national health reform."

SOURCE Office of Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones
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