Press Release

May 18, 2011

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) today praised Senate passage of his resolution, S.Res. 187, to bring attention to the severe health disparities affecting minority populations in our nation such as African Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asians, Hispanics, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.  Co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Mark Begich (D-AK), the bipartisan measure unanimously passed the Senate.

“I want to thank Senators Murkowski and Begich for joining me to promote greater awareness of health disparities in our nation.  Data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Minority Health confirms that African American children have a 60 percent higher prevalence of asthma than white children, Native Americans and Alaska Natives are 2.3 times as likely to have diabetes as whites, and Asian/Pacific Islander men and women have three times the incidence of liver and IBD cancer as whites,” said Senator Cardin.

The Senator added: “Some of these differences are attributable to lower rates of insurance coverage. Minorities constitute one-third of America’s population, but half of the uninsured. But even when you factor in insurance coverage and income, studies have shown that minority patients receive lower quality health care.   We need to reach out to minority communities and ensure that their health care needs are met.  If we are to improve overall quality of care and lower health care costs in this nation, we must eliminate health disparities.”     

In April, Senator Cardin joined U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, Assistant Secretary Howard Koh, and other officials from HHS at the Launch of the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities and National Stakeholder Strategy for Achieving Health Equity.