February 25, 2006
Census data for 2004 revealed that the number of uninsured Americans rose for the fourth year in a row resulting in 45.8 million Americans uninsured. In light of this growing problem the JCPA reaffirms its support for quality, affordable health care coverage, regardless of income, in accordance with our 2000 resolution on healthcare. We call for passage of legislation which would address the crisis of racial and class disparities in health care. We support legislation that expands health coverage to include the more than 45 million Americans lacking adequate health insurance, 52% of whom are minorities; removes language and cultural barriers experienced by 21 million people in the United States in regards to procuring quality health care; supports and expands programs to reduce health disparities especially diabetes, obesity, heart disease, asthma and HIV/AIDS which disproportionately impact racial and ethnic minorities; and ensures funding of the Office of Minority Health and the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities and the important work that they do.
Although only 29% of the U.S. population, African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans represent a majority (52%) of the nation’s 45 million individuals who were uninsured year-round in 2003. In that same year, 20% of African Americans, 33% of Hispanics, and 19% of Asians were without health insurance year round compared to 11% of whites. Additionally, the health care needs of racial minority Americans are great. Minority Americans often cannot obtain preventative care in a timely manner that would prevent the development of acute and chronic conditions. Americans in minority groups have higher rates of acute conditions, chronic diseases, pregnancy-related complications, and infant mortality. As a result of structural biases in the health care system the age adjusted death rate for many preventable chronic illnesses was higher for African Americans than it was for whites by 41% for stroke, 30% for heart disease, 25% for cancer, and more than 750% for HIV disease in 2002. Despite a substantial need for health care, minority groups often encounter obstacles in obtaining it. This is due, in part, to high rates of uninsured minority Americans. Lower socio-economic status, educational achievement, and a higher rate of un-insurance are major contributors to health disparities. Language barriers impede access to health care and may have a negative impact on the quality of care received.
- Will promote discussion and advocacy in the Jewish community with the goal of securing quality affordable coverage to uninsured families;
- Calls for passage of the Healthcare Equality and Accountability Act (HR 3561 and S. 1580) which addresses the crisis of racial disparities in health care;
- Encourages our community actively to engage coalition members to inform the community at large on the lack of affordable health coverage, especially among working families, including a disproportionate number of minority families; and,
- Will promote affordable health-care for each and every member of the community regardless of sex, age, race, creed or color.
 Rockeymoore, Maya. Health Discrimination: A 21st Century Civil Rights Issue, Excerpted from Issue 141, 6/9/05, of The Black Commentator