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Engel Pushes for Universal Health Care at Energy and Commerce Hearing

Engel Pushes for Universal Health Care at Energy and Commerce Hearing

Congressman Eliot L. Engel (NY-16), a top Member of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, today submitted the following statement into the record about the racial health disparities in the coronavirus pandemic:

“From the protests in Minneapolis to the marches in New York City, our nation has heard loud clear—centuries of systemic racial injustices must come to an end. Most of these public demonstrations have focused on cases of police brutality towards minority communities such as the murder of George Floyd. In the backdrop of these demonstrations, however, the coronavirus pandemic continues to claim American lives, particularly those from communities of color.

“My district, which includes the Bronx and Westchester, has been at the epicenter of the nation’s coronavirus outbreak. It is unconscionable to me that my constituents who are African American and Hispanic are twice as likely to die from this virus than their white counterparts. This pandemic has brought to the forefront the health inequities that the Energy and Commerce Committee has been trying to close for years with historic legislation such as the Affordable Care Act, which I helped author, and has enabled nearly 100,000 of my constituents to gain health coverage.

“Like many of my colleagues on this panel, I believe that access to high-quality affordable health care is a basic human right, regardless of one’s race or ethnic background. This pandemic’s disproportionate impact on African American and Hispanic communities highlights the pressing need for a universal health care system that guarantees every American access to health care. To that end, I have been a supporter of Medicare for All since it was first introduced in 2004 and I am a Founding Member of the Medicare for All Caucus. This caucus was successful in securing the first-ever Medicare for All hearing in the Energy and Commerce Committee as well as the Ways and Means Committee this Congressional session.

“We have a unique moment in our nation’s history to move forward truly transformational legislation, which will help communities of color access their basic human right to affordable, high-quality health care.”