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New Drexel/Joint Center Report Examines Presidential Candidates’ Health Care Platforms

Philadelphia, October 8, 2008

Researchers at the Drexel University School of Public Health led by Dr. Dennis Andrulis recently authored a comprehensive report comparing the two presidential nominees’ health care reform plans in the context of eliminating the nation’s longstanding racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care. The report was released by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies (Joint Center). The report, Health Care Proposals of the 2008 Democratic and Republican Presidential Nominees: Implications for Improving Access, Affordability and Quality for America’s Minorities, was issued by the Joint Center’s Health Policy Institute in partnership with the Center for Health Equality at Drexel University’s School of Public Health and Health Management Associates, a leading health care research and consulting firm. The report was funded by W.K. Kellogg Foundation in support of the Joint Center Health Policy Institute’s National Health Policy Training Alliance. As the United States grows more racially and ethnically diverse, so, too, does the significance of disparities in health. In order to provide voters and policymakers with information to evaluate the candidates’ health reform plans, the report synthesizes the health care positions of Illinois Senator Barack Obama and Arizona Senator John McCain. In particular, the report examines how the respective plans address existing racial and ethnic disparities in access to health insurance and services, affordability of care, and the quality of health care. Side-by-side tables that compare various aspects of each candidate’s proposals are included in the report. According to the report, “Our ability to reduce, and ultimately eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care is critical to our nation’s workforce, the vitality of our communities and America’s future prosperity and economic competitiveness in the world.” Given this fact, efforts that solely focus on improving access to health care are not sufficient for reducing racial and ethnic health disparities. Andrulis, who directs the Center for Health Equality at the Drexel University School of Public Health and is the lead author of the report, said “Our review offers the public a chance to see the many sides of the health reform debate and what the candidates’ positions mean for growing numbers of racially and ethnically diverse residents across America. And, while it points out a few areas they have in common, overall it shows two very different paths on insurance and health care access, quality and other priorities as they may affect minorities.” Ralph B. Everett, President and CEO of the Joint Center said, “Racial and ethnic disparities in access to health care are persistent and troubling. Eliminating disparities requires comprehensive strategies that reach into the daily lives of individuals and communities. Addressing the social and economic dynamics that influence and determine health must be a core aim in eliminating health inequalities.” The Center for Health Equality is a collaboration between the Drexel University School of Public Health and the College of Nursing and Health Professions. Founded in 2003, its mission is to partner with community and government to improve the health and well-being of communities through the elimination of health disparities. The Center provides an innovative and exciting program of research and evaluation, networking and collaboration, education and practice built around a commitment to social justice and human rights. For nearly a decade, the Joint Center’s Health Policy Institute (HPI) has proven itself to be one of the top research-based, public policy institutes providing critical analysis of key health issues. Grounded in its mission, “to ignite a Fair Health Movement that gives people of color the inalienable right to equal opportunity for healthy lives,” the HPI uses both research and public-awareness activities to provide technical assistance and analytical support to policymakers and others as they consider options for addressing health equity and improving the health care system. The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is one of the nation’s premier research and public policy institutions and the only one whose work focuses exclusively on issues of particular concern to African Americans and other people of color. For more information or to view the report, please visit http://publichealth.drexel.edu. ### News Media Contact: Niki Gianakaris, Assistant Director, Drexel News Bureau 215-895-6741, 215-778-7752 (cell) or ngianakaris@drexel.edu Betty Anne Williams, Director of Communications, Joint Center 202-789-3505 or bawilliams@jointcenter.org