ROCHESTER, Minn. - U.S. Senator Tina Smith led a meeting on health inequalities in Minnesota as round-table participants discussed why there needs to be changes with health care and racial injustice.
During the virtual meeting Smith brought up the fact that coronavirus is disproportionately impacting people of color more than caucasion people.
Smith says black Minnesotans are at the highest death rates for COVID-19.
She says we need community-based solutions as this is taking place on the basis of structural racism.
Smith explained, “That means that people of color in our state are less likely to own their own homes, they are much more likely to experience underlying health conditions. They're much more likely to have an infant mortality rate for moms of color. It’s two to three times greater than white moms, these problems are systemic.”
During the meeting Smith also said as we work towards a more fair, equitable and inclusive community where health care is a fundamental human right for every person, we need to protect access to care. That's why Smith says she's working to protect the Affordable Care Act.
"One of the things we can do is to protect access to health care which has been some of the power of the Affordable Care
Act and so I'm doing everything can in the Senate to fight a rollback of the Affordable Care Act provisions," she added.
The discussion also included:
Dr. Rachel Hardeman, Associate Professor at UMN School of Public Health
Jackie Dionne, American Indian Health Director at MN Dept of Health
James Burroughs, Chief Equity & Inclusion Officer at Children’s MN
Foua Choua Kang, Director of Health and Wellness at Hmong American Partnership
Mónica Hurtado, Racial Justice and Health Equity Organizer at Voices for Racial Justice
Reuben Moore, CEO of Minnesota Community Care
If you’d like to hear the rest of the discussion you can find the video live streamed on Smith’s official Facebook page. You can view it by clicking here.