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Rep. Lewis on COVID-19's Disproportionate Impact on Communities of Color

May 27, 2020
Press Release

Representative John Lewis’ (GA)
Opening Comment for the
Ways and Means Full Committee Hearing on
The Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Communities of Color
May 27, 2020

Good Afternoon.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this important and timely hearing.

Throughout my career, I fought to make health care available to every American.  I deeply believe that in order to recognize the dignity and worth of every human being, we must first realize their right to equal and affordable health care.  I have said it before, and I will say it again: In this country we are one family.  We are one house – the American house, the people’s house. And when one member of the house falls ill, it will affect us all – whether we want to admit it or not.

In the wake of this deadly virus, we should admit we have fallen short.  Health inequality is once again costing lives on a scale that no one can ignore.  Mr. Chairman, in order to save lives and right this wrong, we must listen, learn, and take action.  I believe in my heart of hearts that if we put ego and ideology to the side, we will find a way to fix the underlying flaws in our health system that result in communities of color bearing the disproportionate burden of a global health crisis. 

For these reasons, I thank the Committee for making this question the very first public priority in the face of this crisis.   We have a mission, a duty, and a mandate to take action.  Every minute, every second matters to those who expect us to speak up and speak out on their behalf.