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Pallone Honored for Efforts to Address Health Disparities

April 21, 2015
Press Release

Receives Congressional Leadership Award from CBC Health Braintrust

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6), Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was recognized by the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust for his tireless efforts to eliminate health disparities.  Pallone was honored with the Congressional Leadership Award, which was presented by Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust.  The group applauded Pallone’s work over the years, especially his commitment to prioritizing and protecting health equity provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

For 12 years now, the CBC Health Spring Braintrust conference has brought together physicians, advocates, and policy makers to discuss how to improve health outcomes in the African American community.  The annual conference is a partnership between the CBC Health Braintrust and the National Minority Quality Forum, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization working to eliminate health disparities within racial and ethnic populations. 

“Nearly 50 years since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid, 30 years since the release of the Heckler Report, and 5 years since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, we have come a long way in our march toward health equity,” said Pallone.  “However, more work remains to be done.  I will continue to fight for policies that build upon the many successes of the ACA and further expand access to care for all those who need it.  I am proud to receive this award today, and I want to thank Congresswoman Kelly for this distinct honor and for her leadership on these critical issues.”

As Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee during the 111th Congress, Pallone played a key role in authoring and passing the ACA.  The landmark law, which has extended health care coverage to 16.4 million Americans, also established Offices of Minority Health throughout the Department of Health and Human services, and elevated the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, ensuring that any work done through the federal government on health care considers related health disparities. 

Throughout his career, Pallone has also been a leader in protecting the integrity of the Medicare guarantee and Medicaid programs and supporting initiatives that advance and protect public health.  An original author of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides health care coverage to more than 8 million children living in low and middle-income households, Pallone has consistently worked to ensure that children have access to the care they need.  Most recently, Pallone fought to include an extension in funding for the CHIP program, as well as the National Health Service Corps and the Community Health Center program, in H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), which permanently replaces the broken Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula.

“Congressman Pallone has long been a strong champion in Congress for reducing health disparities, including working on the front lines in the fight for the Affordable Care Act,” said Congresswoman Kelly, who serves as Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust.  “His leadership in the healthcare space and his passionate advocacy for medical research and innovation is why Congressman Pallone is so very deserving of this year's Congressional Leadership Award.”

The Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust is the authority on African American and minority health disparities on Capitol Hill.  The Braintrust is tasked with creating legislative and policy solutions to reduce health disparities and promote good health outcomes in multicultural communities.