President Clinton, decrying a racial and ethnic gap when it comes to the health of Americans, Saturday outlined a $400 million plan to eliminate the disparity in six key areas by 2010.
"No matter what the reason, racial and ethnic disparities in health are unacceptable in a country that values equality and equal opportunity for all," Clinton said in his weekly radio address to the nation."This is our national goal," Clinton declared. "By 2010 we must eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in infant mortality, diabetes, cancer screening and management, heart disease, AIDS and immunization," he said.
He cited statistics showing that infant mortality rates are twice as high for blacks compared with whites, that black men suffer from heart disease at nearly twice the rate of white males and that overall cancer deaths are disproportionately high among Latinos and blacks.
Additionally, Vietnamese women are five times as likely to have cervical cancer, Chinese-Americans are four to five times as likely to have liver cancer, and Hepatitis B is more prominent among Asian-Americans than the rest of the U.S. population.
American Indians suffer higher rates of infant mortality and heart disease, while diabetes among Hispanics is twice the national average and three times above the national average for American Indians.
Clinton said the budget proposal he submitted to Congress last month "devotes an unprecedented $400 million to spur promising prevention and outreach programs to help us meet this challenge."
The money, to be spent over five years, would be used to assess current programs, improve data collection and work with localities.