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Health Care Part of the MLK "Dream"

January 21, 2008

Arlington, VA - Health care is a human right. That's one of the focuses of today's celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Virginia. Those backing an initiative to require health care reform see it as part of Dr. King's historic "dream."

Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children's Defense Fund, worked with Dr. King for many years. She says today's politicians would do well to keep in mind his philosophy on health care.

"We should be remembering that, as he indicated while he was alive, of all of the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane."

The Children's Defense Fund backed the Congressionally-approved expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP). However, President Bush repeatedly vetoed S-CHIP, citing his concerns about its cost and possible adverse effects on the private insurance market.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that just over one million Virginia residents have no health coverage. Edelman says statistics like that should spur the kinds of action that Dr. King wanted to see.

"In this wonderful observance of Dr. King's birthday that the nation is engaged in, it is so important that we follow him rather than simply celebrate him."

More information about Edelman and the work of CDF is available online, at

John Robinson/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - VA