Reform efforts include work on health disparities

As health reform legislation takes shape, federal officials and legislators are taking steps to make sure that existing health system disparities are addressed.

This follows on a new report by HHS, which concludes, among other things, that 48 percent of all African-American adults suffer from a chronic disease, compared with 39 percent of the general population.

For example, 8 percent of white Americans develop diabetes compared with 15 percent of African-Americans, 14 percent of Hispanics and 18 percent of native Americans. Another disturbing statistic is that African-American men are 50 percent more likely than whites to have prostate cancer, while Hispanic and Vietnamese women have disproportionate rates of cervical cancer.

Among other steps, members of a group of congressional caucuses addressing minority issues have introduced legislation that would require every federal health agency to develop a strategy action plan to eliminate racial and health disparities.

To learn more about this report:
- read this HHS press release

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