Loading

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Health Care

All Americans should have access to high quality, comprehensive, and affordable health care. Nearly 50 million people in the United States lacked health care in 2010 - 16.3% of the population, accordidng to the U.S. Census Bureau. Even those with health coverage face rising costs and decreased benefits. Children, older Americans, and people of color are especially at risk of not receiving the health care they need. In 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to address the health care needs of all Americans and protect the interests of health care consumers.

Defending Health Care Reform

By addressing the huge disparities in both access to and quality of care, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act takes a momentous step toward ensuring that all Americans can benefit from affordable, high-quality health care.

Factsheets on Health Care Disparities Facing Racial and Ethnic Minorities

Amicus Briefs in Support of the  Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010

The Leadership Conference has joined the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union in filing an amicus brief with the Supreme Court arguing that the minimum coverage provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is clearly constitutional and, in fact, advances equal opportunity and liberty for millions of disadvantaged Americans.

The Leadership Conference has also signed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the Medicaid Expansion Provision of the Affordable Care Act . The brief outlines U.S. obligations under international treaties to address disparities in both access to and quality of coverage and care. In its statement of interest, The Leadership Conference said the Medicaid Expansion Provision “will lead to broader access to quality health care by the most vulnerable segments of society, including children, people of color, women, seniors, and people with disabilities.”

The National Women’s Law Center brief on behalf of 60 organizations in United States Department of Health and Human Services, et al v. State of Florida, et al. The brief "explains what’s at stake for women in the challenge to the new health care law and why the ACA, in correcting fundamental gender inequities in the health insurance and health care markets, is an appropriate exercise of federal Commerce Clause authority and therefore is constitutional."

The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum et. al. brief in support of the arugment that the Court should sever the minimum coverage provision and leave the remainder of the Affordable Care Act intact if the Courtfinds the provision unconstitutional.

National Health Law Program et. al. brief in support of the Medicaid Expansion Provision of the Affordable Care Act

Items 31 - 40 of 42  Previous12345Next

New Report Shows Millions of Americans Have Lost Health Care Coverage during the Recession

May 8, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

A new report on health care coverage over the last 15 months by the Center for American Progress shows that rapid increases in unemployment have increased the number of uninsured Americans.

Nearly 60 percent of Americans get health care through their employers.  However, employers have cut 5.1 million jobs since the recession started and the report estimates that in that time 2.3 million people have lost their health insurance.

The report states that the highest number of losses occurred during the first four months of 2009, with over 1 million workers losing health care coverage – about 42 percent of the total losses since 2007.

These numbers only include those Americans who receive employer-provided insurance and doesn't reflect the number of families that have indirectly lost health coverage due to spouses or parents losing their jobs.

The report calls on the Obama administration to work on comprehensive health care reform now so that every American can have access to quality health care.

Link to this post

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day Focuses on Teenagers

May 7, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day logo

Today is National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, an annual event created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) four years ago to bring attention to the mental health needs of children and promote effective and accessible services to meet these needs.

According to a report from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (PDF), approximately 4.5 to 6.3 million children and adolescents experience symptoms of a mental health disorder, such as depression, ADHD, or bipolar disorder. More than half of these children do not receive treatment due to high costs and few options for treatment in most communities.

This year's theme, "Thriving in the Community," focuses on the important role that community-based programs can play in addressing the mental health needs of high school students so that they can excel in education.  Providing school-based mental health services also helps lower the anxiety of students with mental illnesses, and decrease the likelihood that they will attempt suicide.  

SAMHSA's Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program works with communities to provide mental health care to children and assist schools with administering proper care.

Link to this post

Civil Rights Groups Call for Health Coverage for Millions of Uninsured Children and Pregnant Women

April 20, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

The newly-formed coalition is urging Congress to pass legislation this year that guarantees that all children and pregnant women have access to comprehensive, affordable health care.

The United States has "one of the highest low-weight birth rates in the world," said Marian Wright Edelman, president of CDF.  Ms. Edelman added that we must stop "the cradle to prison pipeline" by focusing on prevention, starting with prenatal care, which "saves money and saves lives."

For the Asian American community, "children are largely from first- and second-generation immigrant families and have an uninsured rate of 12 percent," said Vincent Eng, deputy director of the AAJC. He added that language barriers often prevent Asian American women and children from accessing the health care they need.

Native Americans, especially those who live on reservations, face challenges such as severe underfunding for public health programs and a lack of health care providers, according to NCAI executive director Jacqueline Johnson Pata.  "We stand strong with this coalition to ensure we all are part of this important debate and urge Congress to act on this year to include every child in America in health care coverage." 

Read more >>

Link to this post

Paralyzed Veterans of America Celebrate PVA Awareness Week

April 13, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Awareness Week logo

In honor of its 63rd anniversary, the Paralyzed Veterans of America has made this week PVA Awareness Week, in order to celebrate its successes and achievements and highlight some of its current challenges.

During the week, PVA and its 34 chapters are holding events around the country to increase awareness about their work.

In addition, every day this week the PVA website will be providing information around a particular area of their work, starting with today's theme of their work to make sure veterans receive the health care and benefits they are due.

Currently, the veterans health care system has so many problems that some veterans wait for months before they can see a doctor.

President Obama recently announced plans to create a federal electronic database to better track veterans' medical records.  The database will be overseen by the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which will allow them to share information more easily.

Active members' health care is managed through DOD.  Once a soldier is released from active duty, the VA takes over administering health care.  Currently, the two agencies maintain separate databases and it's common for information to get lost during the transition from active duty to civilian.

"We are delighted that the President is making veterans a top priority for his administration … The issue of seamless transition of electronic medical records is a nut that needs to be cracked and will remove much of the needless red tape that folks coming home from conflict have to deal with," said Homer S. Townsend, national executive director of PVA.

The other PVA Awareness Week themes are: promoting wheelchair sports and recreation, advocating research into new treatments and cures for spinal cord injuries, increasing accessibility for people in wheelchairs, and empowering paralyzed veterans.

Link to this post

Rising Unemployment Hits Minorities Hard, Could Affect Health Care Coverage Too

April 8, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Bar graph showing the correlation between rising unemployment and an increase in the number of uninsured Americans

Source: John Holahan and Bowen Garrett, Rising Unemployment, Medicaid, and the Uninsured, prepared for the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, 2009.

With unemployment rates for racial minorities exceeding the national average, minorities continue to be disproportionately affected by the economic downturn and overrepresented among the people who lack health insurance.  

In March, the White unemployment rate was 7.9 percent compared to 11.4 percent for Latinos and 13.3 percent for African Americans.

Overall, the nation's unemployment rate reached a 26-year high, up from 12.5 million in February (8.1 percent) to 13.2 million in March (8.5 percent), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Link to this post

World Health Day 2009: Making Health Facilities Safe

April 7, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Today is World Health Day, an annual celebration which marks the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) on April 7, 1948. The WHO, an agency of the United Nations, coordinates public health efforts worldwide, particularly by working to combat infectious diseases.

This year, World Health Day focuses on the safety of health facilities and the readiness of health workers who treat people affected by emergencies, such as earthquakes, floods or outbreaks of communicable diseases.

Earlier today, the WHO called for governments to make their health facilities disaster-proof -- a message that is especially apt the day after an earthquake in Italy killed more than 200 people. A hospital in the town of L'Aquina had to be evacuated due to structural damage.

"The tragedy of emergencies or disasters is compounded when health facilities fail," said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan. "When a hospital collapses, all its functions are disrupted, lives that depend on emergency care can be lost."

View more WHO World Health Day 2009 videos.

Link to this post

HHS Nominee Says Health Care Overhaul Cannot Wait

April 2, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Katherine Sebelius, nominee to be the next Secretary for Health and Human Services, expressed support for swift congressional action on health care reform during a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions hearing this week.

In her testimony, Sebelius said, "I think our current economic crisis presents the inevitability that we cannot wait. I believe, as the president has articulated over and over again, that we can't fix the economy of America without fixing the health care system."  She added that overhauling the nation's health care system will require containing costs while also expanding coverage to more Americans.

The number of uninsured people has grown from 45 million in 2005 to 47 million in 2006 with nearly 11 percent of all Whites uninsured compared to more than 20 percent of all African Americans and 34 percent of all Hispanics, according to the Census Bureau.

The high number of uninsured people costs the U.S. billions every year, due to lost work time as well as many uninsured people's inability to take advantage of preventative health care services that would decrease the use of costly treatments later. An Institute of Medicine study estimates these losses at $65 billion to $130 billion each year.

Sebelius's confirmation hearing was today in the Senate Finance Committee.  She must be confirmed by the full Senate before she assumes the post.

Link to this post

Economic Recovery Will Help Millions of Struggling Americans and Ease States' Financial Strain

February 20, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

The recently enacted economic recovery plan will provide some much needed relief to millions of Americans who are struggling to make ends meet during the recession, particularly unemployed people. 

The plan extends unemployment benefits up to an additional 33 weeks for workers who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits, and increases weekly unemployment checks by $25 through the end of 2009. In addition, food stamp benefits will be increased by 13.6% starting in April.

Economists say increasing funding for both unemployment benefits and food stamps will have an immediate stimulative effect on the economy since those receiving the aid will likely spend it quickly. 

In addition, 46 states are facing huge budget deficits over the next three years and have been struggling to continue providing welfare and health care assistance to low-income and unemployed people.  Under the plan, states will get nearly $5 billion so they can continue to help low-income families through the federal welfare assistance program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. Currently, about 4 million people receive assistance through the program. Another $87 billion will go to states to help them continue to provide health care assistance through Medicaid.  

Link to this post

Healthy Food Advocates Push for Better Standards in Reauthorization of Federal Child Nutrition Programs

February 13, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

With the number of overweight children between the ages of six and 11 having more than doubled in the past 20 years, healthy food advocates are urging Congress to make sure that federal child nutrition programs are updated to meet the challenges of providing healthy meals to the nation's children.

Read more >>

Link to this post

Items 31 - 40 of 42  Previous12345Next

Amicus Briefs

Minimum Coverage Provision

The Leadership Conference has joined the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union in filing an amicus brief with the Supreme Court arguing that the minimum coverage provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is clearly constitutional and, in fact, advances equal opportunity and liberty for millions of disadvantaged Americans.

Medicaid Expansion Provision

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights has also signed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the Medicaid Expansion Provision of the Affordable Care Act. The brief outlines U.S. obligations under international treaties to address disparities in both access to and quality of coverage and care. In its statement of interest, The Leadership Conference said the Medicaid Expansion Provision “will lead to broader access to quality health care by the most vulnerable segments of society, including children, people of color, women, seniors, and people with disabilities.” The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case in March 26-28.

Campaigns

Health care for America NOW! Quality, affordable health care we can all count on.

More Information On

    Health Care Reform

    Federal Programs

    Health Care Issues

    Recent Reports

    In The News

    Recent news clips on this issue.

    View more news clippings on Delicious.com

    Our Members