Video archive of the US Congress

House Proceeding 03-09-09 on Mar 9th, 2009 :: 0:46:50 to 0:55:10
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Donna M. Christensen

0:46:46 to 0:47:06( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: the virgin islands, representative christensen. mrs. christensen: thank you. madam speaker, i join my congressional black caucus colleagues this evening to discuss what i consider to be one of if not the most aspect of our federal budget, health and health care spending. i also rise not only as a colleague and as a physician, but also as chair of the

Donna M. Christensen

0:46:50 to 0:55:10( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Donna M. Christensen

Donna M. Christensen

0:47:07 to 0:47:27( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: congressional black caucus health brain trust whose mission is to ensure that our communities' unique health and health care issues are at the forefront as our budget process proceeds and finally i rise to applaud president obama for the steps he's taken and hopefully will continue to take to ensure the social determine nance of health are fully considered and solutions fully integrated into health care reform.

Donna M. Christensen

0:47:28 to 0:47:48( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: in recent years i have joined some of our other colleagues and religious leaders on the hill to address the budget as a moral document as you have heard our chair lady speak to a few minutes ago. as a document that represents our country's values and our values as a people. in those years we decried the fact that the budgets sent to congress by the then president

Donna M. Christensen

0:47:49 to 0:48:09( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: did not include support or in any way foster work that we are called to do by our faith. not just christian faith but of any faith. essentially to ensure that the needs of the least of these are met. the congressional black caucus is a -- as a group has met with past presidents just as we hit with president obama two weeks ago.

Donna M. Christensen

0:48:10 to 0:48:31( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: we outline our priorities and indicate our hope for the president's support in health care, education, housing, economic opportunity, improved relationships with african and caribbean countries, and a number of other areas of concern. until now neither have the goals of the religious community or the c.b.c. which parallel each other even been partially approached. in fact, if it were not for the

Donna M. Christensen

0:48:32 to 0:48:52( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: strong position taken by the democrats in this body and some of our lesion on the other side who joined us to protect tm, programs like medicaid, hart -- head start, healthy start, and many others would have been severely compromised and the lives of manyf our fellow americans with them. we don't have to look farrer to remember that expanded coverage

Donna M. Christensen

0:48:53 to 0:49:13( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: for uninsured children is impossible to accomplish until this new administration was sworn in. but change has come and we as a country have reason to hope for a new and bert day. we are pleased as we look at the outline of -- that president obama has sent for the year 2010 it resonates not just with our requests or that of religious

Donna M. Christensen

0:49:14 to 0:49:35( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: leaders over the years, but that it responds to many of the long unmet needs of the american people. and the bills on a very important down payment made by the american recovery and reinvestment act already reaching communities across the country and providing a life line to families in this time of dire economic stress. i want to focus on the health

Donna M. Christensen

0:49:36 to 0:49:57( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: care parts of our budget because as long as i have been in congress the grave differences in health care access, quality, and health outcomes that have had a detrimental impact under health wellness and life opportunities of millions of americans every single year have been the focus of issues of -- focal issues of my efforts and those of the congressional black caucus. these differences not only exist

Donna M. Christensen

0:49:58 to 0:50:18( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: along lines of race and ethnicity, but also along the lines of gender and geography. and the sad reality is this, because we as a nation have not taken the steps necessary to close these health and health care gaps. it is estimated that 100,000 people, a disproportionate number of whom are rational and ethnic minorities die

Donna M. Christensen

0:50:19 to 0:50:39( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: prematurely from identical causes every year. additionally because progress addresses the root causes of health inequities has been stagnant, health disparities are no longer only a racial and ethnic minority health problem. today they are an american issue. this failure to improve to addressing its root causes not only affects the health quality

Donna M. Christensen

0:50:40 to 0:51:01( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: of life of people of color, but undermines them for everyone in this country and weakens our country's position of leadership in the world. the good news, however s. that we are in a new political day and i'm extremely heartened our new president, president taking steps to continue the work begun in the arra and making a sizable commitment to

Donna M. Christensen

0:51:02 to 0:51:22( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: the tune of $634 billion over 10 years on health care reform. and so we are pleased that he's making good on his promise to ensure and improve the health and health care of those millions of americans who have been left out and forgotten for far too long. in doing so to bring about meaningful and thoughtful reform to our nation's very broken and outdated health care system.

Donna M. Christensen

0:51:23 to 0:51:43( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: what's mor i applaud his -- president's emphasis on prevention with this budget's historic $1 billion investment in prevention. as well as the other provision that is will address social determine nance -- determineance that are not normally seen as health related. an investment worth making especially studies confirm that roughly 60% of the premature

Donna M. Christensen

0:51:44 to 0:52:05( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: deaths in the united states are attributable to social circumstances, environmental conditions, and behave yorble choices all of which could be addressed through prevention and a more holistic approach to health. . we know that educational attainment as a direct a

Donna M. Christensen

0:52:06 to 0:52:26( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: indirect impact on health care. so does president obama, whose fiscal year 2010 budget strengthens and reforms the nation's public schools and expands chances for college. we know having access to safe and affordable housing as well as living in communities that are structurally stable has an

Donna M. Christensen

0:52:27 to 0:52:48( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: impact on health. the president's budget provides $1 billion for a housing trust fund. additionally, it invests $3.2 billion for the low income home assistance program to help low income families with their home eating and cooling expenses

Donna M. Christensen

0:52:49 to 0:53:09( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: which will not only prevent accidents but will ensure that our homes are not places that make us sick. we know that foods we eat affects our health. the budget includes money to expand nutrition programs. further, we are impressed that

Donna M. Christensen

0:53:10 to 0:53:30( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: this budget seems to reflect one aspect ofealth disparity elimination that many previous budgets failed to grasp that it requires more than covering all our nation's uninsured, as important as that is. we know that the lack of insurance accounts for only 20%

Donna M. Christensen

0:53:31 to 0:53:52( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: of the racial and ethnic differences in morbidity and mortality we hear about year and year. i'm heartening this -- heartened this budget includes increased funding for the many programs needed to increase health equity. i look forward as chair of the

Donna M. Christensen

0:53:53 to 0:54:14( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: congressional black caucus health brain chair to addressing this in a manner that not only gets this done, but gets it done right. closing gaps in the health care workforce and ensuring our

Donna M. Christensen

0:54:15 to 0:54:35( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: federal programs are strethened, i must say that health disparity elimination must be a focus as well. health disparities are among the key factors that drive up health care costs, costs we as a nation struggle to contain every year. i know that designing a health care system that addresses the

Donna M. Christensen

0:54:36 to 0:54:56( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: social determinants of health that exacerbate health inequities will require the willing to take bold steps in vationnare leadership to ensure that more than one step is taken. however, i also know we have both of those today. both in the administration and in this congress. together we can reform our

Donna M. Christensen

0:54:57 to 0:55:10( Edit History Discussion )

Donna M. Christensen: health care system in a manner that champions health equity and we can make this nation one person and one community at a time healthier, stronger, and better prepared for tomorrow. i yield back the balance of my time and i thank you for taking

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