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Public Statements

Minority Health Month

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. BUTTERFIELD. Mr. Speaker, I rise to promote Minority Health Month and spotlight the health disparities that plague our communities.

In a 1985 report, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) called health disparities in this country ``an affront both to our ideals and to the ongoing genius of American medicine.'' Now 28 years after HHS released that landmark report, health disparities still exist between black and white and rich and poor.

A significant driver of these disparities is the lack of health insurance. For instance, African Americans make up 13 percent of the entire population, but account for more than half of all people who are uninsured. Blacks also have disproportionately lower access to primary care, often receive poorer quality of care, and face more barriers in seeking treatment for chronic diseases.

That is why I am pleased that the month of April is designated as National Minority Health Month. It provides an opportunity for all Americans to learn that healthcare disparities still exist. It also provides an opportunity for government, industry, non-profits, and advocacy organizations to combine efforts to help curb healthcare disparities.

My fellow colleagues, every American deserves the opportunity to live a healthy life regardless of economic means or ethnicity. It is this belief that led the Obama Administration to pass the Affordable Care Act.

Following in the President's footsteps, I will continue to promote Minority Health Month during my district work period by visiting the Metropolitan Community Health Services, the Halifax Regional Medical Center, the Roanoke Rapids Clinic, and several other healthcare facilities in the First Congressional District.

Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in advancing health equity in every community. As leaders, we have an obligation to reverse health inequality through awareness and championing the importance of preventative healthcare.

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