Health Care Reform Can Not Wait

(1) Read Immediately and sign the resolution before Sept. 29th: Email

(2) Contact Senator Bacucus and Senator Kerry
(3) Send this email to your mailing list/List Serve (Please leave these three items but clean up excess headings).

Dear REHDC Colleagues

Former Surgeon General Dr. Elders has asked Chairman Baucus and Senator Kerry to include in the Health Reform bill a "One America Resolution" that would further address the elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities, an amendment that reflects provisions of our REHDC Resolution and those of the Joint Center findings/recommendations — National Strategy to End Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, workforce diversity, ………….. you know the message and please still do not forget to mention public option.  The nation needs to keep it on the table — it will work itself out in negotiations.  

That "One America Amendment" will not happen without constant calls from all of us, our organizations, families, networks from across the country calls/email/faxes/ — and sign-ons to the our REHDC Resolution. Contact all of them.  Also, if your organization has not signed on directly or I missed, please stop and do so. See the list at the end of the Resolution below. 

Also, starting making "One America Amendment" support calls to Baucus and Kerry. 

Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Coalition (REHDC)

Emergency Health Reform Resolution

Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Cannot Wait!

Action Alert: You Know  Effective Health Reform will not just happen, Your Help is Urgently Needed

We must  continue to do all we can to help ensure that the health reform bill  that  the Congress sends to the President to sign into law does all that it can to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities.  Attached  and below is the REHDC Emergency Health Reform Resolution –  which calls for the bill to include a  — National Strategy to End Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities; Meaningful Public Option;  Data Collection and Reporting; Prevention, Wellness and Comprehensive Benefits Package – physical, mental and dental health parity; Expanded Workforce Diversity; Symmetry of the Office of Minority Health with the Office of Women’s Health; Ensured Cultural Competence and Linguistically Appropriate Services ; Proportionate Representation of Communities of Color on Health and Health Reform Decision- Making and Oversight Entities; and Strengthen Civil Rights Laws that Protect Health.  

Coverage and Equal Access to Quality Health Care for All –  efficient and cost effective health reform system requires the elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities..

Community Action 5-Key Tasks — Action Must Start Today :

1) Today call Senator Baucus and Senator Kerry:  tell them to include in the Health Reform bill a “One America Amendment” that also includes the Public Option, a National Strategy to End Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, Workforce diversity, Offices of Minority Health. Start calling today.  Call/email/fax their offices.  They must hear from you. Call the Senate switch board at 202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121 and tell them to connect you to Senator Max Baucus and Senator John Kerry.  Keep making these calls and ask others to call also. Right now calls would be best/ if you cannot call email/fax . If the office phone line stays busy ask the switch board  to connect you to their state office.  We just can’t afford to give up. – Now is the time to be fired up and ready to go with  the spirit of  Yes We Can.      

2) Sign-On and Forward/ Distribute/Circulate thru your networks for sign-on and ask them to have others to do the same, thanks . See Resolution is below. To sign on, email us at the health reform cannot wait  address which is:    Sign-on:Deadline September 29th If an organization: email  (1) Name of organization and address, (2) Specify national organization or state/local organization, (3) If a state or local organization, include city and state; and (4) Your contact information — name, e-mail address and telephone number;  If an individual: email (1) your full name, (2) email address,  (3) city and state, and (4) phone number

3) Keep doing task #1:  Call Senator Baucus and Senator Kerry

4) Ask others to sign-on the Racial/Ethnic Health Disparities Elimination Resolution.

As the President always reminds us , the arc of justice doesn’t bend on its own, and our destiny is not written for us, but by us, and each of us must put our hands on that arc and bend it in the direction of justice. REHDC is seeking sign-ons to the Resolution and asking people across the country to Call Senators Baucus and Kerry It is urgent that they hear from people across the nation — to show support for a "One America Amendment" that would strengthen the bill with regard to racial and ethnic health disparities elimination.  Please sign-on the Resolution and forward/circulate/distribute/outreach to organizations, affiliates, colleagues, friends, family, places of worship, student groups, institutions of higher education, — and on, and on , and ask them also call Baucus and Kerry.

Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Cannot Wait!

This is our battle and our opportunity !



Emergency Health Reform Resolution to President Barack Obama and the 111th Congress of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate from the Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Coalition (REHDC) and the Undersigned 

September __, 2009

Status Quo is NOT an Option – Health Reform Cannot Wait.”

WHEREAS, communities of color are disproportionately burdened by acute and chronic diseases and are subjected to disparities in the quality of care they receive despite socioeconomic and insurance status; and

WHEREAS, the compilation of federal government findings and research studies – from those outlined in the 1985 Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health, to the 2002 IOM Study entitled, Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care, to the Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health: Culture, Race, and Ethnicity; to the 2008 National Health Disparities Report; to reports on HIV/AIDS, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and all disease conditions – document a compelling case for a national comprehensive response to eliminate racially and ethnically-based disparities in health care to ensure that all individuals have a right to health; and

WHEREAS, racial and ethnic health disparities are a longstanding national health crisis that dramatically compromises the health of communities of color, and are found in almost every disease and health condition including diabetes, AIDS, obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, dental health and mental health; and

WHEREAS, data collection, reporting, monitoring and evaluating are absolutely essential to ensuring and assessing progress, accountability, responsibility, transparency and the responsiveness of health, health care, coverage and access to the needs of the nation, medical industry and communities, including improving quality of care, reducing medical errors, and assessing patients’ response to medications and treatments; and  

WHEREAS, delayed and inadequate prevention, intervention, and treatment based on race and ethnicity compromise the health status and economic productivity of individuals, their families and communities leading  to a reduced quality of life, long term disabilities and premature deaths; and

WHEREAS, health care coverage alone does not guarantee access to care, and access does not guarantee quality of care; health reform must build in measures to assure that medically recognized standards of health care are equitably practiced by all health providers for all persons; and

WHEREAS, the elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities is dependent upon health reform and affordable care is dependent upon elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities; and

WHEREAS, a vibrant economy and global competitiveness are dependent upon controlling the escalating cost of health care; and

WHEREAS, a high cost health care system that does not adequately improve the health of its population will lead to continuing cycles of economic and health crises; and 

WHEREAS, the Congress as an institution, and Members of Congress as individuals, working in partnership with communities, organizations, government, and industry are in a unique position to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Coalition and the undersigned organizations that as the U.S. Congress resumes its work on health reform, the legislation must include and provide for:

A National Strategy to End Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

· Include provisions for development and implementation of a National Strategy to End Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.  The Strategy must be developed, implemented and monitored in partnership with government, community and industry under the auspices of the U.S… Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health.  It must include the collection and reporting of disaggregated data, established timelines, adhered to accountability, responsibility, transparency, measurable benchmarks, monitoring, evaluating and required reporting by the Secretary of DHHS to the President at regular scheduled intervals, documenting progress, needs and next steps with reports made available to the Congress and the public.

Meaningful Public Option

· Include a meaningful Public Health Insurance Plan Option package to provide families a complete set of coverage choices and to help ensure equal access for all to quality and affordable health care.

Collection and Reporting of Disaggregated Data by Race/Ethnicity and Primary Language 

· Include the data collection provisions outlined in the Senate Finance Committee’s Description of Policy Options Expanding Health Care Coverage:  Proposals to Provide Affordable Coverage to All Americans..  Include Sec. 3301 from the Affordable Health Choices Act which expands data collection beyond race, ethnicity and language to gender, geographic location, socioeconomic status (including education, employment or income), primary language, and, disability status, strengthened with the inclusion of data provisions contained in the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2009.  Systematic and standardized data collection including that on race, ethnicity, primary language, subpopulations along with other data needs must be required of all entities receiving federal funds, directly and/or indirectly. Data must also be analyzed at regular intervals to ensure that the reformed system is achieving its goals including reductions in racial and ethnic health disparities, as well as closing health gaps for the disabled, women, children, elderly, and regions. Reports and analyses must be provided to Congress on a regular basis and must be made available to the public.   

Prevention, Wellness and Comprehensive Benefits Package

· Include, in the benefits package, coverage for and access to community-based prevention and wellness services, substance abuse services, reproductive health, and overall physical, oral and mental health parity.  HIV tests must be a routine part of medical examinations that are covered by health insurance.

Expanded Workforce Diversity

· Expand workforce diversity; increase the numbers and percentages of underrepresented racial/ethnic groups in all health professions – which also includes increasing support to health professions training and development programs at Historically Black Colleagues and Universities (HBCU), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI), Hispanic-Serving Health Professions Schools (HSHPS), Asian American and Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AAPISI) and Tribal Colleges and Universities, the predominant pipeline for health professionals of color.

Symmetry of the Office of Minority Health with the Office of Women’s Health [delineated in the Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, Office and Offices of Women’s Health, Section 221]

· Include the Office of Minority Health, DHHS with appropriate authorities and allocations for the conduct of minority health and implementation of health reform provisions and Offices of Minority Health at the CDC, FDA, SAMHSA, CMS and other key racial and ethnic health disparities focused agency entities. These offices are essential to effective health reform implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and to ensure that programs affecting minority health will continue to receive the attention they require.

Ensured Cultural Competence and Linguistically Appropriate Services

· Include Cultural Competence as a health quality measure, require cultural competency training across the health system, and include incentives for utilizing cultural competence in the delivery of services.  Include provision for the HHS Office of Minority Health and its liaison offices in all federal agencies, regional offices and state entities to develop the Center for Culturally Competent and Linguistically Appropriate Services with a clearinghouse of health disparities research findings and interventions that demonstrate effectiveness in eliminating health disparities. Include the relevant sections of H.R. 3200 (sections 1221-1222 as introduced) to initiate a study and demonstration program to explore how Medicare should pay for language services. Require adoption of the Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) standard benchmarks by all health providers, not just those receiving federal funds.  Provide incentives that encourage and reward health care organizations that implement the CLAS standards.

Proportionate Representation of Communities of Color on Health and Health Reform Decision- Making and Oversight Entities

·       Decision-making entities created by the health reform legislation must include individuals with documented expertise in racial and ethnic health disparities; members of each of these entities including those at the federal, state and local levels across the reformed system must be representative of the number and percentage of individuals of communities of color in the jurisdiction.

Strengthen Civil Rights Laws that Protect Health

· Key federal civil rights laws that address “unintentional” racial disparities in government programs (Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) were recently rendered unenforceable by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Alexander v. Sandoval decision, and Congress has not yet responded to repair the damage.  Support legislation in Congress to ensure that every statute protecting individual rights, including those that safeguard health and other economic needs, specifically authorizes individuals to bring civil suits in federal court to redress violations of the law.

Coverage and Equal Access to Quality Health Care for All

· Provide equal access for all to quality, affordable and timely health care.  Health reform must address the needs of all including children, elderly, veterans, immigrants, the disabled, homeless, chronic unemployed, and the incarcerated.  It must mandate the inclusion of legal immigrants in Medicaid, CHIP, and Medicare on the same basis as citizens.

Inclusion of the REHDC Legislative Principles and Priorities:

· Legislative principles and priorities identified by REHDC in its Health Care Reform: Key Principles and Priority Legislative Areas of Focus document as was provided to the Congress and the White House throughout the reform process must be included to strengthen the health reform legislation. These principles and priorities are endorsed by over 100 organizations. 

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by REHDC that provisions contained in this resolution must be included in health reform legislation that the U.S. Congress sends to the President, and that the President signs into law; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, REHDC petitions the U.S. Congress and the President to take the steps necessary to complete action on health reform and work in partnership with communities, government and industry to end the American atrocity of race based disparities in health care… 

The Undersigned

– 15th U.S. Surgeon General, The Honorable Dr. Joycelyn Elders

– African American Health Alliance

– AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland , OH

– Alabaster

– American Public Health Association , National Organization

– American Social Health Association , National Organization

– Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum ,  National Organization

– Asian Liver Center at Stanford University

-     Asian Services In Action, Inc.

– Azerbaijan Society of Maine

– CANN-Community Access National Network

– Congress on Health and Economics

– Integrated Social Solutions, Inc. DE

– Latino Caucus, America Public Health Association, National Organization

– Mankato Health Care Reform, MN

– Michigan Positive Action Coalition

– Morgan State University School of Community Health and Policy, MD

– National Black Nurses Association, National Organization

– National Conference of Black Mayors, National Organization

– National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians, National Organization

– National Health Law Program, National Organization

– National Hispanic Health Foundation

– National Hispanic Medical Association , National  Organization

– National Indian Project Center

– New Age Services

– Out of Many, One Coalition, National organization

– Papa Ola Lokahi

– Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Coalition,  National organization

– Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc., CA

– Summit Health Institute for Research and Education, DC

– TAG-Treatment Action Group

– The Cave Institute, National

– The Center for HIV La and Policy

– The Honorable Delegate Shirley Nathan Pulliam

– Vision of Ideal Communities Empowered, NJ

– National Dental Association,  National Organization

-     Columbus (OH) NAACP

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