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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

H.R. 2, the Patient’s Rights Repeal Act

January 18, 2011
Floor Statement

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) entered the following statement into the Congressional Record today during floor debate on the Republican legislation to repeal health care reform.

"Thank you Mr. Speaker, and I thank the Judiciary Committee's Ranking Member, my friend Mr. Conyers, for yielding the time.

I'm proud to join my Democratic colleagues on the floor this afternoon to state our unequivocal stance against health care reform repeal.

The landmark health reform law takes a stand against the health care disparities that exist for low-income Americans, people of color, and people with pre-existing conditions.

• 20 percent of African-Americans were uninsured in the United States, and 32 percent of the Hispanic population was uninsured.

• Though African-American women are 10 percent less likely to get breast cancer than white women, we are 34 percent more likely to die from it. And Hispanic women are twice as likely to die from cervical cancer as White women.

• Both African-American and Mexican-American men are 30 percent more likely to die from heart disease than White Americans.

• Hispanic men were one-and-a-half times as likely to die from diabetes as White Americans, and African-Americans were 2.2 times as likely to die from diabetes as compared to White Americans.

• Finally, though they compromise 15% of the US population, Hispanics make up 17% of new HIV infections. And more shockingly, though we make up only 12% of the US population, African Americans are 45% of new HIV infections.

Many Americans are suffering from a lack of access to health care because health insurance is simply unaffordable. This problem has existed for far too long in the most prosperous nation in the world. Meaningful health care must be available for all Americans regardless of race, level of income, gender, or the existence of a pre-existing condition. That's why the health care reform law specifically addresses these disparities and other pre-existing conditions and makes it illegal to be denied health care insurance because of them.

So I implore my Republican colleagues to work with us to strengthen the law, make it better, and provide health care and jobs to millions of Americans.

Thank you, I yield back the balance of my time."

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