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Mar 23, 2010

Melanie L. Campbell's Remarks on Healthcare Reform

Over 100 Years in the Making, Healthcare Reform Passes!

Statement of Melanie L. Campbell, executive director and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and convener of Black Women’s Roundtable

Yesterday, we witnessed history when the U. S. House of Representatives passed healthcare reform with a vote of 219 to 212.

Regardless of who a person voted for in 2008, one thing was clear: the American people wanted change. A central part of change for Americans was access to affordable healthcare for all. The people wanted Congress to pass quality healthcare reform for all Americans.

We salute the Congressional Black Caucus, the leadership of the 111th Congress and President Obama for delivering on their promise of healthcare reform. This bill will make it possible for 32 Million more Americans to have quality, affordable healthcare and create a $1.2 trillion-dollar savings for taxpayers.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, reminded us that this vote was a vote "for the least of these, God's children." The Congresswoman stated, "We cast our votes for all those people who deserve health care but simply can't afford it. We cast our votes for our senior citizens who will see their prescription drug costs go down. We cast our votes for our children and grandchildren, so that they can live longer, fuller and healthier lives. We cast our votes in the memory of those people who didn't have preventive care and died prematurely."

Like the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, Medicare and Social Security, the passage of healthcare reform was significant a moment in history. Future generations may ask what you did you do to ensure healthcare reform was passed - did you fight, did you speak up or did you sit on the sidelines?

I am proud to say that the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation did not sit on the sidelines---we spoke up, we marched, we called our Congresspersons, we sent emails, we walked the halls of Congress and we prayed for our leaders to lead.

We are proud for speaking up and being a part of history, but our work is not over. Now that this historic moment has taken place, there will be those who will try and tell you healthcare reform is not good for you.

We need to continue to advocate for healthcare and dispel the myths and lies about Healthcare Reform. Here are the facts about Healthcare Reform provided by the Congressional Black Caucus:

• Expand support for community health centers, which play a vital role in expanding access to preventive and other care in our nation's most vulnerable communities. • Greater support for programs that will increase the racial and ethnic diversity in the nation's health workforce, as well as improved data collection so that we can better measure health inequities and develop solutions to end all health disparities. • Strengthening the existing Office of Minority Health at HHS, and establishes the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities at NIH an Institute. • Inclusion of coverage for residents of the U. S. Territories. • Guarantees transparency on rates and enables insurance commissioners to recommend to the National Insurance

Commissioner whether a particular insureer should participate in the Health Insurance Exchange

Today we are celebrating the passing of healthcare reform. However, we take our role very seriously as a voice for the voiceless, and we will continue to advocate to empower the poor, seniors, children and disadvantaged communities across America.

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