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Washington, DC [July 1, 2009] -- Sweeping legislation to correct long-standing disparities in health care treatment and outcomes also includes the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Program, Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) President & CEO Laurie Fenton Ambrose announced today.
Introduced in the House of Representatives just before the Fourth of July break by Congresswoman Donna M. Christensen (D-VI), the 353 page bill entitled The Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2009 (H.R.3090) calls for specific actions to tear down barriers, improve workforce diversity, ensure accountability and improve health care services. To view a .pdf of the entire bill, click here.
"The goal is to achieve more equitable healthcare services across lines of race, and ethnicity, gender and geography," said Congresswoman Christensen, who is the only female physician in Congress and who also chairs the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust.
Specifically addressed in the bill are several diseases which have a disparate impact on minorities, including lung cancer, the biggest cancer killer in every ethnic group. Lung cancer also has 30-35% higher incidence and mortality rate among African American men - a disparity that is still not being researched or even publicized.
"Thanks to Congresswoman Christensen's leadership, this is finally starting to change," said Fenton Ambrose.
In April, Congresswoman Christensen introduced as a separate bill, the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act (H.R.2112), the first authorizing legislation ever giving lung cancer research priority status and calling for a comprehensive multi-agency effort to reduce lung cancer deaths which now total more each year than breast, prostate, colon and pancreatic cancers combined.
That bill has been included in the new disparity health bill which has 54 co-sponsors to date.
"Once again we are deeply grateful to Congresswoman Christensen. We thank her and we congratulate her on the introduction of the disparity bill," said Fenton Ambrose.
"We cannot address healthcare reform if we do not address inequities in the healthcare system itself," she stated, adding that LCA is committed to supporting those efforts.