Nation
6:32 am
Tue June 9, 2009

Minority lawmakers want close look at treatment disparities

WASHINGTON – WASHINGTON (AP) - Black, Latino and Asian lawmakers want President Barack Obama to focus more on racial disparities reported in medical treatment as the White House works toward overhauling the health care system.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus sent Obama a letter last week calling for more attention to minority health problems. They are expected to join lawmakers from Hispanic and Asian caucuses today at a news conference on Capitol Hill to call
attention to the issue.

The lawmakers are planning to introduce an alternative health care proposal soon. They say it would improve services in low-income areas, eliminate language barriers and improve data collection to help detect gaps in care for various racial and
ethnic groups.

Meantime, House Democrats are said to be considering a new tax on employer-provided health benefits to help pay for covering the uninsured.

Several officials say the legislation now being crafted also could include a requirement for all individuals to buy affordable coverage or pay a penalty for refusing.