WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

HHS Secretary issues statement for National Minority Health Month

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued a statement on Tuesday about National Minority Health Month and the opportunity to eliminate health disparities.

April is National Minority Health Month. Sebelius said that while the U.S. has made major progress in reducing health disparities in the past 50 years, minorities have been historically less likely to receive preventive care and more likely to suffer from serious illnesses. Minorities have also been less likely to have access to quality insurance coverage and healthcare.

Sebelius said the Affordable Care Act is helping the U.S. improve quality and affordable health coverage regardless of ethnicity or race.

"The health care law addresses the needs of minority populations and other underserved groups by investing in prevention, supporting improvements in primary care and Medicare, and making health care coverage affordable and accessible for all Americans," Sebelius said.

Starting on October 1, the ACA will give all uninsured Americans the chance to enroll through the Health Insurance Marketplaces to make side-by-side comparisons of private insurance plans. The law bans discrimination against pre-existing conditions like asthma or diabetes, keeping anyone from being turned away because of their health status.

"The theme for National Minority Health Month this year is 'Advance Health Equity Now: Uniting Our Communities to Bring Health Care Coverage to All,'" Sebelius said. "Achieving health equity means each of us has an equal opportunity to attain optimal health. Let's recommit ourselves and our communities to act now to eliminate health disparities and increase access to quality care. We cannot afford to wait."