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Public Papers - 1990 - November

Statement on Signing the Disadvantaged Minority Health Improvement Act of 1990

1990-11-06

I am pleased to sign today H.R. 5702, the ``Disadvantaged Minority Health Improvement Act of 1990.'' This legislation will improve the access of disadvantaged individuals, including minorities, to health care and health professions opportunities.

A disparity exists between the health status of disadvantaged individuals, including minorities, and the general population. My budget for FY 1991 addressed these problems by requesting 7 million for a new Minority Health Initiative. I am gratified that this Act contains the authority to implement certain key provisions of that Initiative.

Secretary Sullivan has taken an active leadership role in addressing minority health issues since being sworn in as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Because of his leadership and that of many in the Congress, this Act will improve the quality of health care services to all disadvantaged Americans. It transcends racial and ethnic differences and will be administered in a fair and nondiscriminatory way.

I support the emphasis in the Act on improving access to health care for all disadvantaged individuals, including both minority and nonminority individuals, and increasing their representation in the health professions. It is, of course, the Federal Government's responsibility to ensure that the benefits of Federal programs are offered to individuals in a manner consistent with the equal protection guarantees of the Constitution. Certain provisions of the Act concern me with respect to these guarantees. For example, subsection 4(c)(5) purports to link eligibility for school program grants to the numerical representation of races enrolled at the school. Accordingly, I am hereby instructing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to implement this and other provisions of the Act in a nondiscriminatory and constitutional manner.

George Bush

The White House,

November 6, 1990.

Note: H.R. 5702, approved November 6, was assigned Public Law No. 101 - 527.

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