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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

Press Release - The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Supreme Court Decision on Affordable Care Act Will Have Major Health Care Consequences for Racial and Ethnic Minorities
Stubborn Disparities Highlighted in Newly Released Fact Sheets

For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Simpson, 202.466.2061, simpson@civilrights.org
March 20, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – In advance of the upcoming arguments in the Supreme Court case on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the nation’s broadest civil rights coalition is releasing a set of fact sheets outlining the importance of the ACA to minority communities.

Building on its amicus brief defending the law filed with coalition organizations, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights collected data from a variety of sources supporting their argument that the ACA advances equal opportunity for millions of Americans. 

The burdens of costly health care are not distributed evenly. Rather, they fall disproportionately on disadvantaged populations, which are more likely to experience higher rates of unemployment, to have jobs that do not provide health insurance, and to have lower incomes that put higher insurance premiums out of their financial reach.

“These are more than just numbers on a page,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “Together these statistics paint a macabre portrait of minority health in this country. And when compounded with the financial implications of enormous medical debt – poor credit, bankruptcy, lost wages, and unemployment – it becomes clear that this case is about more than health care, it’s a battle over fundamental civil and human rights.”

The fact sheets highlight disparities in health care access and health of racial and ethnic minorities, including:

  • Racial and ethnic minorities are much more likely to be uninsured than Whites. They constitute about one-third of the U.S. population, but make up more than half of the 50 million people who are uninsured.
  • Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders account for more than 50 percent of all Hepatitis B cases in the United States.
  • Compared to the general U.S. population, American Indians are 638 percent more likely to suffer from alcoholism, 400 percent more likely to contract tuberculosis, 291 percent more likely to suffer from diabetes, 67 percent more likely to have pneumonia or influenza, and 20 percent more likely to suffer from heart disease.
  • Hispanics have the highest uninsured rate of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S. They are nearly three times as likely as non-Hispanic Whites to be uninsured.
  • 44 percent of African Americans delay or forgo routine and preventive care.

PDFs of each fact sheet are linked below:

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.

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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.

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