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